Thursday, March 27, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Hi there! First of all, I'd like to say a big hello & welcome to anyone stopping by for the first time today - I know I've got some new viewers popping by from the Ocean Spray Facebook & Twitter pages. I'm so excited that Ocean Spray chose to share my recipe for Oatmeal Applesauce Craisin Muffins, and I hope you'll make these quick treats and enjoy them as much as I did. Thanks for coming by! Hope you'll stick around :)

Second, I have a new recipe to share today! It's been a while since I had a good, solid dinner to share, and I must admit - I'm pretty excited about this one! It's an easy weeknight meal that makes great leftovers... what more could you need?

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
serves 6

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1 bottle buffalo wing sauce (I use Frank's)
  • 2 T Ranch dressing powder 
  • 4 oz light cream cheese 
  • 1/2 box multigrain pasta (I use Barilla rotini) 
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs 
  • Green onions to garnish 

  1. Put chicken in crockpot and cover with bottle of buffalo sauce and Ranch powder. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, then shred with two forks. (Tip: you could easily use poached chicken or a rotisserie chicken, shredded and mixed with the buffalo sauce. I use the crockpot so that I come home to the chicken already cooked - plus I like that it sits in the sauce all day and really gets the flavor. Any method of acquiring the chicken and combining with the sauce will do, though!) 
  2. Preheat oven to 350. 
  3. Add cream cheese to shredded chicken and stir to melt and thoroughly combine. If it’s a little dry, add some chicken broth or water to get it good and creamy (sometimes my chicken gets dry if I have to leave it in the crockpot longer than usual – it’ll be fine either way!) 
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions, minus a minute or two so that it’s al dente. Drain and put back in pot. 
  5. Mix pasta and chicken / buffalo sauce / cream cheese mixture together in pasta pot. 
  6. Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, and pour noodle mixture into baking dish. 
  7. Top with shredded cheddar and panko. 
  8. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 10-15 minutes until the top is crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. 
  9. Serve topped with green onions and a drizzle of Ranch dressing, if desired. 
This is a versatile dish - like I mentioned, you could cook the chicken right before you make the casserole, or use leftover chicken diced and tossed with buffalo sauce. I also think this would be delicious with a little bleu cheese mixed in, but my husband doesn't like it, so we skip that. It's great served along side a vegetable (please note that random little piece of broccoli in my picture...) or with a salad. It comes together in no time, and then you can do something else while it bakes (I cleaned the kitchen and swept the floor... gotta love multitasking). Hope you enjoy this as much as we have!


Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

Ohhh yum! Pinning this now. Love mac and cheese! Buffalo chicken mac and cheese? Even better!

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...

You know I love ALL things buffalo! I love this idea! I have been stuck on Iowa Girl Eat's Buffalo Chicken mac and cheese, but this seems even easier!