Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

Last night I got home from work a little earlier than usual…and by early, I mean just after 6pm. The dishwasher was acting up and the hubs had decided to empty the entire thing into the sink while he ran it repeatedly to “troubleshoot” the problem.

I poured myself a glass of vanilla soy milk (I swear it tastes like a vanilla shake) and sat down on the couch to catch up with the hubs and Tiggy. 10+ hours is a long time to go without seeing my two favorites 🙂

We started discussing dinner options since we didn’t really make a detailed plan this week, and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese came up. It isn’t realllly a week night dinner, since there are a few steps that you need to do before you can put it together, and I’m a very slow cook.

Because our kitchen was torn apart, it wasn’t ideal timing, but I decided to go for it anyway. Including the time it took to tackle some dishes and clean up, dinner was ready in an hour and a half. It wasn’t a 30 minute meal by any means, but I knew what I was getting into. However, next time the dishwasher stops working, we’ll probably just grab sandwiches. Dishes are NOT my thing.

I’ve made this recipe 2 or 3 times in the past. The first time I made it exactly as directed (minus the blue cheese) and it came out great! This time, I wasn’t exactly prepared to make it, nor was I in the mood for such a rich dish – this recipe is NOT light by any means. The whole time I was making it I had Cookie Monster’s A Cookie is a Sometime Food in my head…it kind of fits. I don’t know where I come up with these things.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Buffalo Chicken and Macaroni and Cheese are truly a match made in heaven! According to some quick calculations, this dish is about 1/3 less calories than the original and the fat and saturated fat have been reduced by over half. Needless to say, this is still a pretty rich dish – however, it is definitely worth a try. Make sure to check out the original recipe for a great step-by-step break-down of the entire process.

Ingredients

  • 1C breadcrumbs
  • 1.5T cayenne pepper
  • 1.5T ground cumin
  • .5 t Freshly ground black pepper
  • .25t sea salt (unless using seasoned breadcrumbs)
  • 3oz plain nonfat yogurt + 1oz skim milk (or 2 eggs)
  • 3/4 lb chicken breast/tenderloins
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 lb whole wheat penne
  • 3T unsalted butter
  • 3 C chopped onions
  • 3  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 C skim  milk
  • 8oz buffalo spice cheese (or any combo of cheddar & jack)
  • 2T paprika
  • 1 C Frank’s Red Hot Original

Serves 8 (I usually freeze some and it reheats pretty well)

Method

  • Combine the first 5 ingredients in a shallow, wide bowl.
  • Combine the yogurt and milk.
  • Cut chicken into tender sized pieces if necessary. Coat tenders in yogurt mixture, then dredge in breadcrumbs.
  • Heat canola oil in a large skillet until hot, then fry tenders until done, flipping once to ensure even cooking.
  • Set tenders aside to cool, then chop into bite sized pieces.
  • Cook penne in boiling water for approximately half the time stated on the package, then drain and set aside. (You want the pasta to be very firm, I cooked mine for 8 minutes)
  • Melt butter in a large pot, add garlic and onion and cook on low for 6 minutes or until onion is softened and translucent.
  • Stir flour into the onion mixture and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add milk and bring sauce to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
  • Remove sauce from the stove and stir in cheese(s) and paprika.
  • Add pasta and buffalo sauce to the sauce and stir to combine, then fold in the chopped chicken tenders.
  • Pour the mixture into a 9×13 glass dish coated with canola or olive oil spray, and bake at 350* for 25 minutes.

Dinner

I served the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese with oven roasted broccoli. It came out just as good as I remembered. The hubs and I both went back for a little more and there is still a ton of leftovers!

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2 Responses to Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese

  1. Pingback: One of THOSE mornings | Faking it and Making it

  2. Pingback: Just Another Manic Monday | Faking It and Making It

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