Spice Up Your Life: Spring is time to come out of your shell

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By Lindsey Young
Harvey County Now

With the weather finally warming up, it’s about the time of year when you begin meeting yourself coming and going, it seems.
There are so many activities outdoors, and staying inside after the harsh winter on top of a pandemic makes me want to spend every moment I can out in the yard or taking a walk instead of standing in front of the stove. If you’re a fan of a kiddo involved in spring sports, your life is about to get pretty busy, too.
This week’s recipe pays homage to that. You can make it as complicated or as easy as you like.
If you’re in a hurry, I’d definitely recommend using jarred sauce, shredding up an already-cooked rotisserie chicken and maybe even skipping the pasta shells and cooking some lasagna noodles to layer in there instead.
Regardless of how much time you spend, though, this dinner is a really yummy one.
I found this on the Julie Evink’s blog, “Julie’s Eats and Treats.” You can find her original post at https://www.julieseatsandtreats.com/chicken-alfredo-stuffed-shells/.

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
Ingredients
30 large pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
1 pound chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 cup shredded parmesan, divided
1 egg, beaten
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh Italian parsley, optional
15 ounces garlic Alfredo sauce
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
While the shells are boiling, combine cottage cheese, 3/4 cup mozzarella, 3/4 cup parmesan, egg, garlic, oregano, basil and salt and pepper, stirring well. (If using the fresh parsley, dice up 1/4 to 1/2 cup and add it in, too.) Add in the chicken and stir until everything is well mixed.
In the prepared dish, add about one cup of the Alfredo sauce to the bottom.
Spoon the chicken mixture into the drained, prepared shells and place them, crowded tightly but in a single layer, in the dish.
Evenly distribute the remaining Alfredo sauce over the shells, along with the reserved cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and the dish is heated through.
Serve garnished with more parsley, if using.

This is a great casserole to create ahead of time and slip into the freezer or fridge to bake later. While you’re busy cooking one, why not go ahead and assemble a second one, too?
I often love cooking from scratch and taking some time preparing food, but when the birds are chirping and the temperature is rising, sometimes it’s OK to just go easy on yourself.
Grab a plate, go eat outside, and enjoy the arrival of April.

Spice Up Your Life is sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton. Find them at shopmainstco.com. Lindsey Young is an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.