Friday, December 2, 2011

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food, isn't it?  It's not a dish we eat often at the Just One Donna table, but a couple of times a year I'll make it in all of its heart-warming decadence.  You know, with cups and cups of shredded cheese, butter, half and half and those crunchy, buttery bread crumbs on top.  Oh, yes!  It doesn't get any better than that...or does it?

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Well, I decided to find out if it could get better than that when I saw this recipe for Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese.  If you love macaroni and cheese you are already half way there, right?  Add in a love of buffalo-chicken and what do you get?  Well, it's genius you get isn't it?  It is forehead smacking genius!

We all know that a recipe can sound good on paper and fail miserably in the kitchen, so I decided to go into test kitchen mode and try this recipe on my family.  You know that roasted chicken I'm always recommending you keep on hand in your refrigerator?  Well, this recipe makes good use of that chicken.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Serves 6-8
Buffalo-Chicken Mac and Cheese Ingredients
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped fine
  • 3 cups of shredded chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cups Frank's hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half (I used fat free)
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 2/3 cups sour cream (I used light)
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cook the macaroni in salted water about 7 minutes. It will continue cooking in the casserole.  Drain.  While the macaroni is cooking, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.  Set aside.

The Buffalo-Chicken

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheeses.  Finally, whisk in the sour cream and stir until smooth.  Taste the cheese sauce for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
Layer the Chicken with the Macaroni

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave.  Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley and spread evenly over the macaroni.


Ready for the Oven
Bake until bubbly, and the crumb topping is browned and crunchy, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest at least 10 minutes before serving.

The Buffalo-Chicken Mac and Cheese


What's the verdict?  This is a winner.  If you love Buffalo-chicken flavors you will love this mac and cheese.  This dish is easy to make, but there is a lot of chopping, shredding and stirring.  There was quite a mess to clean up after assembling the mac and cheese, so you'll want to be sure you have the time for the resulting clean up.  Is this mac and cheese worth the work?  Oh, yes it is.

You can get the original recipe from the Food Network or click the link for my printable Buffalo-Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe with the substitutions I made.

Do you want a healthier version of mac and cheese?  Try this Healthy Macaroni and Cheese recipe.  Do you want to stick with the basics?  Here's the Classic Baked Mac and Cheese recipe.

Enjoy!

4 comments:

  1. This is an incredible recipe. I happened to go to Donna's house after work on Thursday to return her house key after my Thanksgiving assignment to walk and feed our little Sadie. Of course I was asked if I would like a glass of wine and we had some conversations regarding what had transpired since Sunday..... Then I sampled the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. OMG, it is awesome...cannot wait to make, even got the tip that fresh grated cheese is best!!!!! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  2. I recently made a Bacon Ranch Chicken Macaroni and Cheese....this one's next!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pro Diva, the bacon-ranch chicken mac and cheese sounds yummy, too.

    ReplyDelete

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