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Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells

May 22, 2024
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

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Indulge in Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells, baked until perfectly crispy and oozing with golden bubbly cheesy goodness --- infused with jammy tomato + savory jerk flavors.

Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells

This Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells recipe is the ultimate comfort food --- Imagine creamy ricotta and gooey mozzarella cheese stuffed into pasta shells, combined with slightly spicy jerk chicken, all smothered in a savory, herby tomato sauce, and baked to golden perfection. It's a delicious, cozy meal that's sure to please everyone at the table! Gluten-free option.

Up close shot of stuffed shells with two spoons.

This Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells is both stunning, satisfying, and it's surprisingly easy to whip up. Pasta bakes are a favorite of mine because they feel like comfort food magic—especially with the oven doing most of the work.

After sharing my Skillet Tuscan Pumpkin Stuffed Shells and Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells recipes, I realized how much everyone loves a delicious stuffed shell dish! Utilizing shredded cooked jerk chicken seasoned with my homemade jerk seasoning and roasted broccolini as convenient shortcuts, this recipe comes together effortlessly. The broccolini adds a burst of green to the decadent, cheesy mixture of tender pasta + herbs.

This family-friendly dinner is perfect for storing leftovers, making it a great option for your next pasta night or potluck with friends. If you're craving more pasta bake recipes, be sure to check out my Smoked Baked Mac + Cheese Rigatoni, Spicy Vodka Rigatoni Pasta Bake, and Meatless Baked Ziti with Ricotta.

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Chopped broccolini on a cutting board with a knife.

Why You Will LOVE Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells

  • Bold jerk + tomato flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.
  • Easy weeknight meal--Simple preparation + minimal ingredients
  • A hearty filling dish that lets the oven do all the work!
  • Versatile + customizable with a gluten-free option!
  • crowd-pleasing combination that will have everyone coming back for seconds.
  • It’s absolutely delicious!
Ingredients on a brown wood table.

How to Make Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells

First, prepare the jerk chicken ahead of time. Next, cook the pasta until it's just al dente—you want it to have a bit of chew. Then, mix together the ricotta-lemon filling until it's light and well combined. Layer everything into a baking dish and pop it into the oven! After about 20 minutes, you'll have a bubbling, golden dish with protein, starch, and veggies all in one!

Ingredients

JERK CHICKEN:

  • Organic chicken breasts. The heart of the dish!
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Feel free to use your favorite high-quality EVOO. My fave tried and trusted brand is California Olive Ranch.
  • Jerk seasoning. You can use a homemade blend if you want to be in control of the heat levels and overall flavor a little more or use a store brought version.

STUFFED SHELLS:

  • Jumbo pasta shells. You can use regular or whole-wheat pasta for the recipe.
  • Marinara sauce. I like to use Rao's or Whole Foods 365 brand.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Garlic cloves. Minced.
  • Ricotta cheese. Whole milk ricotta will add more flavor and body to the stuffed shells. However, skim ricotta will also work!
  • Broccolini or broccoli. Chopped into florets.
  • Herbs + seasonings. Sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano + dried basil.
  • Chicken stock. This helps make sure it's creamy and adds extra flavor.
  • Mozzarella cheese. Freshly shredded or grated is best!
  • Parmesan. Again freshly-grated.

SHOP MY FAVORITE BAKEWARE ITEMS AND ACCESSORIES FOR THIS DISH!

Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells. Everything from my fave Dutch pot/oven, wooden spoons, immersion hand-blender, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!

Marinara sauce in a bowl being stirred.

What Are Delicious Foods to Pair Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells With?

When it comes to serving this mouthwatering Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells dish there are some options that will truly elevate your meal. First off, don't forget to have some crusty bread on hand--- I love this homemade Cheesy Kale Garlic Bread or for more of a classic feel this Homemade Roasted Garlic Bread really hits the spot. Trust me; you'll want to dip it into that luscious, saucy goodness.

If you want a little freshness, serve it with a salad on the side, like this Roasted Cauliflower Green Goddess Salad or this Best Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad. It's like a fresh burst of flavor that complements this easy weeknight dinner beautifully.

But here's the thing. These stuffed shells are so darn amazing that you can honestly enjoy it all by itself. Seriously, the umami-rich tomato sauce, jerk chicken + luscious creamy ricotta cheese —everything is just bursting with flavor. So, feel free to dig in and savor every single bite. It's a dish that stands tall on its own!

Ingredients assembled in a skillet on a brown wood table.

What Does Jerk Chicken Taste Like?

Basically, Jamaican baked jerk chicken is super packed with flavor that is spicy and sweet with a smoky, char taste if made on a grill. Overall, jerk seasoning has warm, complex, and salt undertones, which makes it the perfect flavor for any taste buds.

Is Jerk Chicken Very Spicy?

This chicken is spicy, but not overly hot. When it comes to making jerk anything, the amount of spicy and hot flavors would depend on the amount of seasoning you add. You can always adjust the amount of peppers based on your personal preference.

Layer of cheese atop ingredients in a skillet.

How To Know If Your Chicken Is Fully Cooked?

Ever wondered how long to bake chicken breasts at 400°? To know when your chicken breasts are fully cooked at 400° here are some tips -

  • Time: Bake chicken breasts at 400°F for around 30-35 minutes. Don't forget to flip halfway through!
  • Color and Juices: Cut into the thickest part of the chicken. If the juices run clear and the meat is opaque with no pinkness, it's likely cooked.
  • Temperature: For certainty, use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should read 165°F (75°C) at the thickest part of the breast.
  • Resting: After cooking, let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes. This helps keep the juices inside for a tastier result.
Baked stuffed shells in a skillet with two spoons.

How To Shred Chicken?

Shredding chicken is a breeze! After you've cooked the chicken to tender perfection, you can use one of the methods below to shred it!

FORKS:

  • For this method, you would need two forks. If using this method, place your cooked chicken breast onto a plate or cutting board and use both forks to separate the chicken meat and 'shred' as you separate. Continue doing this until all of your chicken is shredded.

STAND MIXER:

  • If you're looking to avoid using arm strength, then the method of a stand mixer might be just for you. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to shred chicken, and you simply place all of your cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the paddle attachment and mix on low. In just 15-20 seconds, you’ll have shredded chicken. That easy!
Stuffed shells in a skillet with a side of parmesan and a drink.

Can I Freeze Baked Stuffed Shells?

Yes! In fact, this chicken and ricotta stuffed shells recipe freezes beautifully.

Simply let the casserole cool fully, then transfer it to an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze for up to three months. When you're ready to serve, simply reheat in a 350°F oven until heated through. If you notice the shells drying out at all, cover the dish with tin foil while heating.

Stuffed shells scooped with two spoons in a skillet.

Common Q + A's For Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells

How to store?

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

How to make this dish gluten-free?

You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free stuffed jumbo shells.

How to make it ahead of time?

Cook your pasta and let it cool completely before storing in an air-tight refrigerator for 3-5 days. Make and store your shredded jerk chicken in an air tight container to refrigerate overnight as well; you can cook the chicken up to 2 days before. On the day of, remove everything to room temp., about 10-15 minutes and continue assembly STEPS.

How do I know when the stuffed shells are ready?

The shells are ready when the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the edges are golden brown.

Up close shot of stuffed shells in a skillet with two spoons.

More Deliciously Good Pasta Recipes

If you are a fan of this Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells recipe, then you will also love these recipes:

MADE OUR RECIPE(S)?

If you tried this Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. And don't forget to tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea! I love hearing from you!

Stuffed shells scooped with two spoons in a skillet.

Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells

May 22, 2024
5 from 2 votes
Weeknight Jerk Chicken + Broccoli Stuffed Shells are the ultimate comfort food --- Imagine creamy ricotta and gooey mozzarella cheese stuffed into pasta shells, combined with slightly spicy jerk chicken, all smothered in a savory, herby tomato sauce, and baked to golden perfection. It's a delicious, cozy meal that's sure to please everyone at the table!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

JERK CHICKEN:

  • 2 lbs. organic chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsps Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsps jerk seasoning, dry rub

STUFFED SHELLS:

  • 1 (32oz) jar organic marinara sauce (I like to use Rao's or Whole Foods 365 brand)
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (32 oz) container ricotta cheese, skim or whole milk
  • 2 bunches broccolini or broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup organic chicken stock
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 cup freshly-grated parmesan

Instructions

TO MAKE THE JERK CHICKEN:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, add the chicken breasts, olive oil, and jerk dry rub seasoning, mixing everything together until chicken is coated.
  • Line seasoned chicken breast (side by side) unto prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of room in between each one.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside and fully cooked through on the inside. NOTE: Be sure to turn the breasts unto their opposite side halfway through the baking time.
  • Remove from oven and let them cool until safe to handle.
  • Shred the chicken: For this method, you would need two forks. If using this method, place your cooked chicken breast onto a plate or cutting board and use both forks to separate the chicken meat and 'shred' as you separate. Continue doing this until all of your chicken is shredded.

BOIL THE PASTA:

  • Cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: jumbo shells or Conchiglioni pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 10-12 minutes (however, you should cook at 9-10 minutes or so—‘al dente’).

TO MAKE THE SAUCE:

  • In a medium 10-inch deep skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil until heated. Add the minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, parsley, oregano, and basil and stir until combined. Add in the marinara sauce and chicken stock, stirring until combined.
  • Let it slightly bubble for 1-2 minutes and then add in 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan, whisking until fully melted and sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

ASSEMBLE + BAKE:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Prepare a 12-inch oven-safe skillet by lightly greasing it with olive oil. Stuff each cooked jumbo shell with shredded jerk chicken and broccoli and arrange it in the skillet, stuffed side up. Repeat this until all shells are stuffed and lined side-by-side.
  • Carefully pour slightly cooled sauce atop the stuffed shells followed by dollops of ricotta cheese and sprinkles of shredded mozzarella cheese, until shells are mostly covered.
  • Bake stuffed shells (in the middle rack) until everything is fully warmed through and the cheese has melted on the tops, about 18-20 minutes.
  • Once done, remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • MAKE AHEAD: Cook your pasta and let it cool completely before storing in an air-tight refrigerator for 3-5 days. Make and store your shredded jerk chicken in an air tight container to refrigerate overnight as well; you can cook the chicken up to 2 days before. On the day of, remove everything to room temp., about 10-15 minutes and continue assembly STEPS.
  • VEGGIES: If preferred, you can always add other greens to the mix for additional flavor such as Kale, Spinach or Collard Greens.
  • SPICES/HERBS: If desired, you can reduce the amounts slightly. Please know that this recipe is bold in flavor, so feel free to adjust based on your tastebuds.

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 913mg | Potassium: 658mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 200IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 170mg | Iron: 1mg

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Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Xx, Shanika in script writing

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  1. Jamaican meets Italian…..that’s all I have to say. I am a Jamalian now thanks to you.. Lol. Phenomenal recipe.

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