Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Another one of the recipes out of my Money Saving Meals cookbook.  This one was a winner.  Everyone loved it.  I served it with some garlic/parmesan bread, and some asparagus.  Yum!

Chicken and Spinach Stuffed Shells
18 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 oz chicken
15 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
26 oz tomato pasta sauce (I used Robusto somethingerother, it was a cheaper jarred one)
2 cups shredded Italian cheese (I didn't need that much, I used about 1 cup instead)

Heat oven to 350, cook pasta according to package directions.
Squeeze out all of the juice out of the thawed spinach, then place spinach on paper towels and squeeze dry some more.
Mix spinach, egg, chicken, ricotta, and parmesan (I also added some minced garlic, because I love garlic).  Drain pasta, rinse with cool water.
Spread 1 cup pasta sauce in a 13x9 in pan.  Then spoon about 2 tbl of ricotta mixture into one shell (I used a Pampered Chef medium scoop for this, it worked perfectly).  Place shells, filled sides up.  Spoon with remaining pasta sauce.
Cover with foil, bake 30 min.  Remove foil, and sprinkle with Italian cheese.  Bake another 5-10 min.

Now, lets talk about savings.  How much did I save with this recipe, or rather, how much did I spend.  I already had the spinach at the house, and I also had the chicken, as well as the egg, and parmesan.  So those aren't being counted in my little estimate.  So I spent 1.35 on the shells, 1.69 on the pasta sauce, 1.96 on the ricotta, and another 2.47 on the Italian cheese (which I was supposed to use all of, but didn't).  All in all, I actually spent only 7.47.  Now I would guesstimate that the spinach would have been about 1.50, and the chicken probably more like 2.00, the egg, well, I'm just not going to count that, most of us have eggs, and the amount of parmesan, maybe .50.  So it would have cost something like 11.47.  Still, thats a pretty good price when it feeds all of us, and then some.  Autumn had 3 shells, Sierra had 2 shells, I had 3 shells, and Paul had 6 shells.  The serving size is supposed to be 3 shells per person.  And we were supposed to get 6 servings.  More often than not, the meals we make are usually one less (because the husband is able to eat a little more) serving.  So I would say 5 servings instead of 6.  Still, according to my calculations, it was 2.29/serving (thats wayyyy better than anything taco bell could do).  But if you really want to talk about money.  I also served asparagus (steamed), probably running 2.00, and then garlic bread which is about 2.00, so all in all, we ate our entire dinner meal for only 3.09.  Considering we just went to Mac Grill in Ramstein and spent about 6 dollars each for the girls meals alone, thats one heck of a deal.  It just amazes me that amount of money you save by eating at home sometimes.  But who wants to cook all the time, I certainly don't, and I love to cook!  But all in all, this was a delicious meal, and I'm loving the fact that it wasn't very expensive too!  If you try it, let me know how you like it!

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