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by on March 19th, 2013

Chicken Stuffed Sea Shells

I can smell the sea salt already. 

We’re going to Florida this summer and I can’t wait to see what all I can find made with sea shells. Call me crazy but I would love to come back with some little sea shell salt and pepper shakers. I remember going to Florida with our grandparents when we were young and looking for a souvenir to take back to our parents. Back then there was everything under the sun made with shells. I think a set of shakers would look so cute on the table when serving seafood, right along with my Peaugeot lighthouse salt and pepper grinders.

I’ve been trying to come up with kids craft ideas for the beach vacation with all our family. After searching Pinterest and other sites I have come up with some really cute ideas for the little guys to make. I’m hoping when they need a rest from the sun, they can enjoy “craft time with Gran”. There are several crafts I want to make using shell — pasta shells that is.

So that got me thinking about this recipe I did years ago from Mable Hoffmann’s Finger Foods book.  Back then I was reading every book I could about finger foods because that was the types of food I loved making for cocktail parties I catered.

I did this recipe once for a Houston Medical Alliance auxiliary party and I came up with this sauce to drizzle over the shells to kick them up a notch. (Oh no, that sounds like Emeril.) It’s delicious, so I’m giving you the sauce recipe too. You could easily serve this recipe hot but I enjoy it cold just as well and it makes an easy dish you can just pick up to eat at a party.

Thanks to my bunco group for being my guinea pig, again.

My sun-dried tomatoes were not packed in oil so I drizzled some oil over the chopped tomatoes and let set for a few minutes.

Cook pasta shells al dente and stuff with filling. You can drizzle with some of the red pepper sauce or chopped parsley to garnish.

I just happened to have a shell shaped platter to hold my stuffed pasta shells.

Sauce ingredients. I roasted the red pepper over my range top, sweated it in a paper bag and then pureed with the other ingredients.

Chicken Stuffed Sea Shells

10 giant pasta shells (or manicotti shells) (see note below)
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 tsp. prepared mustard
2 hard boiled egg, finely chopped
4 Tbsp. sun-dried tomato halves in oil, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 c. cooked chopped chicken
1 c. Monterrey Jack cheese, diced very small (or grate) (recipe called for mozzarella)
4 Tbsp. almonds, pine nuts, or pistachios, toasted

Red Pepper Sauce (optional) see below for recipe

In a 4-quart saucepan, bring 3 quarts salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until barely tender. Immediately cover with cold water; drain well.

In a medium bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, green onion, mustard, egg, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken and cheese. Spoon into cooked shells. Sprinkle almonds (or other nut) over top. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Notes: I would use the giant pasta shells if I were serving it for a luncheon but for a cocktail party I think the medium pasta shells make the perfect one bite appetizer

Hot Sauce:

1 roasted pepper (you can buy the roasted peppers or roast your own)
1/8 c. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar or 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon

Put your red pepper over flame top of your stove and turn until it is totally charred. Put in paper or plastic bag for about 15 minutes until it has softened. Remove all the charred skin.

Put the roasted peppers in food processor and blend until smooth. Add all the other ingredients and use the water to thin if needed.


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