Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells and Focaccia Bread

Thursday, January 29, 2015

This month, Tastefully Simple sent me two awesome products to work with: Asiago Alfredo Warm Dip Mix and Himalayan Sea Salt Blend.  I immediately thought "pasta and bread, bread and pasta."  

So, I came up with these delicious, cheesy Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells and Focaccia Bread with Himalayan Sea Salt! While this post is long, the recipes are very easy and can be made ahead of time.  

I made the Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells the day before, put them in the fridge over night and baked them for dinner the next day.  I did the same with the focaccia bread, I made it the night before (and enjoyed it with soup) and also the pasta the next day.  It is also great for making sandwiches! The pasta re-heats like a dream so it is perfect for leftovers as well! These two are a match made in heaven.  

I started with the bread by adding water 
And half of the flour.  Popped the mixer on medium and let it go for a minute to start to combine
Then added the remaining flour
Lots of salt (when you read the recipe, it is not a typo!)
And olive oil.  Let it mix (knead) on medium speed for 5 minutes. 
Then I got to work on the chicken.  Preheated the oven to 350 degrees, seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and into the oven it went for 25 mins.
Once the 5 minutes were up, I tested the dough and it was soft but not sticky. 
 I placed it in a bowl that I sprayed with cooking spray and covered with a clean dish towel for an hour.
 I took the chicken out and cut it in half at the biggest part.  It wasn't done (as you can see) so back in the oven it went for a total of 25 minutes.

Once the dough had doubled in size
 I oiled the pan (yes it looks like a ton, yes that is why it tastes so good)
 And spread the dough out onto it
 Using my rough looking winter man-hands, I pressed my fingers into the dough to make the unmistakable texture of focaccia bread
 To make it look like this
 Cover with plastic wrap (NOT PRESS AND SEAL!--I don't own plastic wrap but now I know it serves a purpose and I should!) Let this rise for an hour in a warm place...on the top of the oven that was just on..just a hint :)
 Once it had time to rise, I brushed it all with the oil that was in the corners of the pan
 Sprinkled with additional rosemary
 And ground the Himalayan Sea Salt Blend all over it.
 I baked it for 25 minutes and it came out perfect.
 While the bread was baking, I worked on the pasta again.  I diced the chicken
 And I tossed it in a bowl with ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and dried parsley
 Gave it a stir and a taste, added a little bit more salt
 And an egg.  I added the egg after so that I could taste it.
 I cooked the pasta shells and tossed them with olive oil so they wouldn't stick together and set them aside.
 While I worked on the sauce.  Super easy, just milk
 Cream cheese
 And the Asiago Alfredo Dip Mix . I cooked this for about 2 minutes on medium heat while stirring
I stuffed the shells with the cheese and chicken mixture.  It was easy to do by just scooping large spoonfuls of it into each shell.
 Poured the Asiago Alfredo Sauce over the top
 Sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. And covered it, and put it into the fridge over night (just because I made it during the day; you can totally bake it right after you assemble!)
 The next day I preheated the oven to 350, popped it in for about 35 minutes and put it under the broiler for about 4 minutes while keeping a close eye on it.  I love broiled golden cheese!
 And that's it!
 I cut the focaccia bread into cute little triangles
 And served the pasta along side a small salad with a crisp vinaigrette.
The perfect meal. 

I couldn't believe the flavor of the Asiago Alfredo Dip Mix!  It was so good and only had two additional ingredients to add.  I am looking forward to using the other packet to make the dip out of it.  I am also looking forward to using the Himalayan Sea Salt Blend in other ways as well! It has the Himalayan sea salt but also garlic and onion as well.  It would be great in seasoning ground beef to make chili, over eggs, on grilled chicken; the options really seem endless! 

I hope you enjoy these recipes, we really have! 

Focaccia Bread 
1 3/4 cup warm water 
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast 
3 teaspoons dried rosemary, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
5 1/4 cup all purpose flour 
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup olive oil

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons rosemary, sugar and 3 1/4 cups of the flour.  Place the hook on the mixer and turn on low speed.  Add the remaining flour, salt and 1/2 cup of olive oil. After the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Press your finger into the dough, if it isn't sticky, you are perfect.  If still a little sticky, add another tablespoon or two of flour.  

Place the dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Lay a clean dish towel over the bowl and put in a warm place to rise.  This should take about an hour. 

After the dough has doubled in size, remove the towel.  Pour the remaining olive oil onto the pan and spread around evenly.  Plop the dough in the middle and press and form it into the pan.  It should almost go to all of the edges/corners.  Using your fingers, press into the dough and create little divots. Be sure to press all the way through to the pan in some spots.  That is what creates the texture of the focaccia.   Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.  

Once the hour is almost over, preheat the oven to 425.  Once preheated, remove the plastic wrap and using a pastry brush, paint the olive oil that has formed in the corners over the whole thing.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of rosemary and grind the Himalayan Sea Salt Blend over the top.  I estimated at the 2 teaspoons but you want quite a bit as it adds a lot of flavor! Place in the oven for 25-30 mins.  Mine took 25 mins exactly! 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting into it. 


Recipe slightly adapted from: Handle the Heat

 Asiago Alfredo Chicken Stuffed Shells 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
Salt and Pepper for seasoning 
8 oz container of ricotta (low fat/skim is okay)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese 
1 tablespoon dried parsley + additional for garnish 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 egg
20 jumbo pasta shells 
1 1/2 cups milk (skim is okay)
8 oz cream cheese (1/3 the fat is okay) 
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  

Place the chicken breasts in an oven safe baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes.  After 25 mins, cut into the thickest part of the chicken to ensure that it is fully cooked.  If it is, remove from the oven.  If not, put it in for another minute or two, or until fully cooked. 

Once the chicken is cooked, let it cool slightly.  

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and drizzle with olive oil so it doesn't stick. 

While the pasta cooks, dice into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add the ricotta, parmesan, dried parsley, salt and pepper.  Give it a good stir and taste.  If needed add additional salt and pepper.  Once appropriately seasoned, add in the egg, stir until completely combined.  

Fill the shells with the cheese and chicken mixture by using a tablespoon and stuffing until completely full. Place in a 9x13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. 

In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, cream cheese and Asiago Alfredo Dip Mix.  Cook on medium heat until combined.  

Pour the sauce over the stuffed shells.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top.  

Bake for 30 minutes or until hot an bubbly.  Turn on the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes, be sure to keep an eye on it! 

Serve and enjoy!  

Recipe by: Mrs. Schwartz 

**DISCLOSURE: I was provided with free products with this post and was also compensated.  However, all opinions are my own.  As always, you cannot buy my love, baby.**

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