Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese



The last couple of weeks have been crazy and after this upcoming weekend, things should settle down and my life should return to some sort of routine. Or at least that's my optimistic outlook. This past weekend I traveled to Alabama to visit my brother and his family, I met my niece and nephew for the first time, and I got a brand new car!! It was an amazing trip and I enjoyed the time with my family so much. The drive home to Texas, however, was a bit...long. 12 1/2 hours long, to be exact. By myself. Ugh. I will say, though, that while it was long, boring, and my back was less than happy by the time I got home...it didn't feel like 12 1/2 hours, and I got to enjoy my new car. I did get a little behind on posts, and yesterday was a missed Taco Tuesday, but I'm going to make that up to you this weekend when I debut a new theme day! Be sure to check back on Saturday to see what it is! And, of course, Taco Tuesday will be back on deck next week.

And I'll share a few pictures of the new car with you as well :)




Panoramic Sunroof!! So awesome!


But, to get back in the swing of things, I have a delicious post for your Wednesday! What's that, you say? Another buffalo chicken recipe? Yes. Yes it is. This one has been on my radar for quite some time and I was so excited to get in the kitchen and make it! I did make one mistake in the process, but I learned from my (repeated) mistake. I may have mentioned this previously, but I do not like blue cheese. Not even a teeny bit. However, from time-to-time I will leave it in a recipe if it is a small amount. I figured 1/3 cup was not too much, and only on the top, so it should be ok. I figured wrong. For those who like/love/tolerate blue cheese, this is a perfect addition to this mac 'n' cheese. For me, hater of blue cheese, it was not a good idea at all. All I could taste in my first serving was the blue cheese and it totally ruined it for me. I scraped off the topping for my second helping and found only minimal traces of the blue cheese and enjoyed it much more. My only recommendation is that if you have even a slight aversion to blue cheese, omit it from th recipe and do everything else exactly the same. If you like it...keep it in there!! Overall it was another great buffalo recipe and I will definitely make it again!

Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n' Cheese
As seen on Sunny Side Up in San Diego

Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts - marinated in 1 cup buttermilk and 2 Tbsp Frank's Red Hot 2-24 hours
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni  or shell noodles, cooked and drained
  • 4 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped (about 2 large stalks)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup half-half
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cups Franks Buffalo Red Hot (or other buffalo sauce), divided
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced or 2 tsp dry parsley
  • Blue Cheese dressing for drizzling over top
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a grill pan over high heat, grill the chicken breasts until the juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side depending on thickness of chicken. Chop the chicken into bite size chunks, cover to keep warm and set aside.
  3. Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 4 minutes, or until the celery is soft and the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the garlic, last 2 Tbsp of butter and 1/4 cup of Franks, stir to coat the celery and onions.
  5. Sprinkle in the dry mustard and flour and stir well with a whisk. When the flour is fully combined, pour in the milk and half and half, whisking constantly. Then whisk in the remaining hot sauce and sour cream. Bring to a light simmer, continuing to whisk.
  6. Stir in the cheese until smooth and melted. Add the chicken and stir to combine. You will have to stir quite a bit until all is well combined.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta.
  8. In a small bowl melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add the panko, blue cheese, and parsley and stir.
  9. Sprinkle the panko mixture over top of the mac and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.




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