Before Simple, I owned a company called Baby's Belly. At Baby's Belly we made toddler meals as well as baby food... and this meal was consistently one of our top ordered items. What I loved most about this meal was that every food group was covered. Dairy (from the cheese), protein (from the chicken), vegetable (from the spinach), grain (from the pasta) and fruit (from the tomato sauce)! Cheesy deliciousness that is also well-balanced? Who could ask for more? And somehow, the littles never even noticed the green spinach that was among the cheese. When we moved to New Zealand and closed Baby's Belly, these stuffed shells never went off of my family's personal menu. To this day we enjoy it as a staple and I hope you can add it to your family's menu as well!
BTW, the additional stage 2 puree at the bottom of the recipe is for a baby who is 8+ months. Therefore, that recipe is pared down... no sauce, cream cheese, mozzarella or salt. I consider the stuffed shells recipe to be a 12+ month meal, just be sure to cut it into small bite size pieces first!
chicken & spinach stuffed shells
- This is a baby (12+ months), toddler, big kid & family meal.
- The modified stage 2 puree (8+ months) will be listed at the bottom of the recipe. Always ask your pediatrician before introducing new foods.
- Freezes for up to 3 months
13x9 baking dish - about 16 shells
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup spinach
- 2-3 cups marinara sauce (can be store bought)
- 1 small shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 package (8oz) of cream cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1 egg
- 1 tbl dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt & pepper to taste
- cook jumbo pasta shells in boiling water for about 8 minutes so that they are slightly undercooked
- pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- add 1 cup of fresh spinach, 1 small peeled shallot & 2 peeled garlic cloves to chopper/blender (you can also fine chop all the ingredients) pulse until you have a fine chop. Transfer to a large bowl.
- add 1 cup cooked chicken breast (about 1 big breast - I cooked mine in a foil pouch with 1/4 cup water & salt/pepper at 400 for 20 minutes but you can cook the chicken however you prefer) to the chopper & pulse to your desired consistency (fine chop recommended). Transfer into the bowl
- add cream cheese, ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/4 cup Parmesan, Italian seasoning, parsley, egg, salt & pepper to the bowl. Mix together.
- lightly grease a 13x9 baking dish and add about 1 cup marinara so that it covers the bottom
- stuff the undercooked shells with the mix and place in the dish. Top with 1-2 cups of marinara. Cover tightly with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes
- uncover & add the rest of the mozzarella & parmesan. Cook uncovered for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted & browned.
for the stage 2 puree
- this puree is appropriate for babies 8+ months
- store in the refrigerator for 3 days or freezes for up to 3 months
- do not use salt in this puree
- pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- put 8 oz of chicken breast in a baking dish with 1/2 cup of water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through
- steam 1 cup of spinach on the stovetop or in the microwave
- blend/pulse the chicken and spinach together to reach your desired consistency (for a thinner puree add a bit of the chicken's cooking liquid or water).
- mix with 1 cup of ricotta. (You can also add small shape pasta for a complete meal)
- serve, refrigerate or freeze!