Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Warning: This is in NO WAY good for you!  It sure is yummy though!!

This idea came from this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/buffalo-chicken-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html.  It was featured on Ultimate Recipe Showdown last year.  It is definitely a bit time consuming and requires a lot of pots and pans.  But I think you will find the end result worth it!

I did change it up a bit (trying to reduce the points value and make it a little less fattening lol). First, I didn’t marinate or fry the chicken – I just grilled it.  While, I’m sure the fried chicken marinated in beer was delicious, I was looking to get rid of any unnecessary fat.  And I used a little less cheese than the recipe called for.  I also used buffalo sauce instead of hot sauce, and just 6 slices of regular bacon.  As for the pasta, I used pipette pasta instead of elbows.  Oh, and I added buffalo sauce to the cheese sauce too.  Here’s my version..

Start with all the prep work:

  • Preheat your oven to 400º.
  • Crisp up 6 slices of bacon.  (I always cook my bacon in the microwave on a special tray.  It helps it get really crispy!)  Break the bacon into tiny pieces.
  • Grill 1 pound chicken tenderloins.  (Season with s&p first!)
  • Slice the chicken and toss with buffalo sauce.
  • Boil 1 pound of small-cut pasta in salted water.  (Again, I went with pipette.)
  • Meanwhile, start the rue for the cheese sauce.  Melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat.
  • Add about 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook 1-2 minutes (until golden brown).
  • Whisk in 1/3 cup flour and cook about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in 3 cups milk.  Season with s&p.  Bring to a boil stirring frequently.
  • Add 2 cups cheddar and 2 cups mozzarella (both shredded).  Stir until melted.
  • I then added some buffalo sauce to the cheese sauce.

You’re ready to assemble:

  • Drain the pasta.  Return it to the hot pot and add the cheese sauce.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles and the bacon pieces.
  • Add pasta mixture to a greased 9” X 13” baking pan.
  • Top with the chicken in buffalo sauce.
  • Cover with an additional 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup mozzarella.
  • Sprinkle panko bread crumbs on top.
  • Bake at 400º for about 25-30 minutes (until golden brown on top and bubbly).

This was very comforting and delicious.  If I were to make it again, I would make another change.  I would shred already-cooked chicken and toss it in the buffalo sauce.  I would stir the chicken in with the cheese sauce so that it would be evenly distributed throughout the pasta (and not just on top).

Whatever version you try, I do recommend making it at least once.  I mean, who doesn’t love buffalo wings and mac & cheese?  Why not combine them??  Enjoy!  🙂


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