Stuffed Mexican Chicken Shells {Freezer Meal}

The filling in these Stuffed Mexican Chicken shells is what makes them so delicious - shredded chicken, cream cheese, peppers, onions, black beans, and cumin. Top with salsa and cheese and it is dinner perfection!

Mexican stuffed shells with chicken

Two of my favorite things – Mexican and pasta – are coming together for this recipe: Stuffed Mexican Chicken Shells! (Some call them Taco Stuffed Shells.)

One of my favorite things about this dish is that it makes TWO big 9×13” pans, so you can save one of the pans for a busy night when you don’t have time to make dinner, or take one of the pans to a friend who could use a delicious dinner.

If you were to bring me a pan of these stuffed shells, I promise you that we would be friends for life!

Also, using a rotisserie chicken is a great shortcut for this recipe.

How to stuff the shells

After you cook the shells al dente (you don’t want them to be too soft or they won’t hold their filling!), the wiggly noodles can sometimes be hard to stuff.

I found that the easiest way is to hold the cooked shell in one hand and then use the other hand to hold a spoon and scoop the filling inside.

One pan now, one pan later (or how to freeze this meal)

If you haven’t learned by now, I LOVE freezer meals. Because this recipe makes two pans of food, I love to stick one pan in the freezer and pull it out on a busy day when I don’t have time to make dinner.

To freeze a pan of these shells, prepare as directed except leave off the salsa and shredded cheese topping.

Use an air-tight covered container, a disposable aluminum pan that comes with a lid (you can get them at most grocery stores), or you can even place the shells in a gallon-sized resealable bag.

The shells will stay good in the freezer for up to 30 days.

When you are ready to eat, remove shells from freezer. Pour the salsa in the bottom of the pan, add the shells to the pan, then top with remaining salsa and cheese. Bake as directed.

Pasta does tend to get mushy when thawed, so if you are going to be freezing these shells, I recommend cooking the shells ONE MINUTE LESS than al dente, just to keep them from being too mushy.

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side dish ideas for stuffed shells:

Serves: 8

Stuffed Mexican Chicken Shells {Freezer Meal}

*I did have about 1 1/2 cups of the chicken mixture leftover- we just wrapped it up in flour tortillas for lunch the next day and it was delicious! (I put one pan in the oven to bake for dinner and then wrapped the other uncooked pan with foil and threw it in the freezer for another night. When you are ready to eat it, pull it out of the freezer 24 hours in advance and let it thaw in the fridge. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes)

20 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

50 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 green onions, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 (8 oz.) blocks cream cheese, softened (not melted)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained (Rotel or store brand)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 40 large pasta shells

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta shells in well salted, boiling water until al dente (still have a little bite to them- if you cook them too long, they will be difficult to stuff). Drain the pasta and set aside while you make the filling.
  2. For the filling, add diced chicken, drained black beans, green onions, diced peppers, and cumin into a  large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese, chicken broth and undrained tomatoes with chiles. When thoroughly combined, pour it over the chicken mixture and mix well (if you have trouble incorporating the cream cheese and tomatoes, you can heat it slightly in the microwave).
  4. You will need either 2 9x13" baking pans OR one large baking sheet. Spread 3/4 cup salsa in the bottom of each 9x13" baking pan.
  5. Using a spoon, fill each of your cooked pasta shells with chicken mixture, setting them into the salsa-covered pan. Continue until all shells are filled and arranged in the pans.
  6. When the pans are full, drizzle the shells with the remaining 1/2 cup of salsa (1/4 cup per pan) and then sprinkle with the shredded cheddar cheese.
  7. Cover the baking pan tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Cuisine: Mexican | Recipe Type: Main Dish
7.8.0.1
1996
https://media.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/stuffed-mexican-chicken-shells-freezer/

Recipe slightly adapted from Busy At Home

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51 Responses to “Stuffed Mexican Chicken Shells {Freezer Meal}”

    • LincolnLounger
      I made this for a group meal, and it was a HUGE hit. Since I was making such a large quantity, I did it a little differently. I cooked the chicken with the Rotel, cumin, black beans, and taco spices in a slow cooker. I then shredded the chicken and folded in the cream cheese. It got rave reviews, and I thank you for the recipe.
  1. We had this for dinner last night and it was delicious! I've tried a few different taco stuffed shells recipes and this is by far my favourite. I halved it because we don't have room in our freezer at the moment (it's in dire need of a cleanout!) but next time I definitely will, I love doing this style of freezer cooking! Also, a trick I learned for incorporating cream cheese is to use a potato masher and just smash it in there, it works relaly well! Thanks for the great recipe! It's definitely going into the make again file!
  2. Heather
    This recipe was very good!!!! The only thing I changed was, I did not have chicken broth or cumin. So I used water and taco seasoning in place of those items. I'm sure it didn't make much of a difference, it was delicious!
  3. April
    I made this over the weekend for a girlfriend who just had twins. I baked one and left the other as a freezer meal for her to cook later. It was a big hit! I left out the green onions and green pepper since I didn't have those on hand, but everything else went in to my pasta shells. I added some fresh cilantro on top of each shell, just for prettys-sake! My husband and I used the leftover filling as a taco dip the next day, so yummy!
    • You would have to adjust the recipe for the crock pot. Not even sure what to tell you. Boil the pasta shells before putting into the crock pot. Let us know how it turns out. Sorry we can't help you much. We have only made it as the recipe directs.
  4. this was very good! I think this will get added into our normal rotation. I chopped the chicken really fine -- thinking that would work better for my picky toddlers -- and proved to make for a god texture. However, I'm not sure if it was the salsa I used but it had some KICK! That was great for my husband and I but too much for the kids. This makes a ton -- so be prepared to freeze!
  5. YUMMILICIOUS!!!! I was looking for something new and flavorful for my sort of picky hubby. I loved this recipe, easy to make, no special fussy ingredients, not a lot of time to put together. I cut in half and still have another meal for the two of us in the freezer! (I didn't use cumin - didn't affect flavor at all). So, getting back to my fussy eater. Let me just say, he didn't go back for seconds, oh no, he went back for third helping!! He loved it and told me to thank whoever gave me the recipe. Definitely a keeper Than you Six Sisters!!
  6. I substituted fat free refried beans for one of the blocks of cream cheese. And I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese for the other two blocks. It turned out great! Next time, I think I'll leave out the chicken broth, it wasn't really necessary for me.
      • Elizabeth
        I usually double this recipe and put it in 8inch square pans then vacuseal the whole thing before freezing. Makes like 9or 10 pans and they've stayed very well like that for many months. Wouldn't recommend doing it with just airtight containers or foil covering since air can still sneak in....but otherwise good keeper. Love this recipe! Make huge batches at a time and freeze (as described above) and besides throwing in a can of corn for additional color I have no complaints!
  7. Made this tonight - but used small 1" shells and just mixed everything together, topped with cheese and baked (more casserole like). Kids loved it. Great flavor! Used two boxes of shells and followed the amounts for everything else (except cream cheese, because I misread how many boxed were needed, so substituted sour cream for the rest). It was enough to make for dinner with left overs AND put one in the freezer!
  8. Deana
    Reading your comment about the hummus or greek yogurt as substitutes for cream cheese, got the wheels turning in my head. I love greek food and was thinking of using the yogurt and perhaps chick peas in place of black beans. Maybe add some greek olvies and feta instead of cheddar... I'm not a cook so not sure if this would work. What do you think?
  9. How would I make this a freezer meal?? Would I put it all together and everything and then just freeze it all in a casserole dish?? I'm sorry, I'm new to freezer meals so I'm just use to seeing it all poured into a gallon size ziploc bag. lol
    • I put one pan in the oven to bake for dinner and then wrapped the other uncooked pan with foil and threw it in the freezer for another night. When you are ready to eat it, pull it out of the freezer 24 hours in advance and let it thaw in the fridge. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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