Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

In order to maintain my Awesome Girlfriend status, I decided to make this dish for the Patriots’ game on Sunday. Turns out there was no Patriots’ game this week, but that didn’t stop us.

Ok, let me just say that there is nary a vegetable to be found in this dish, unless you count onion, celery, or garlic (….oooh! and parsley! parsley is kind of healthy!…), lots of cheese, and buttery breadcrumbs. And it’s worth it. I did, however, serve this up with a huge pile of sautéed spinach to cut the guilt a little bit. 🙂

Brian and I ate this in silence, exchanging the occasional happy looks and yummy sounds. So delicious.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Serves 4
Recipe by Just the Tip / Inspired by Food Network

Here’s what I used:

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • ½ lb pasta (I used shells, but any short cut will work)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded or cubed rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbsp Frank’s buffalo wing hot sauce, divided
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 ¼ cups half and half or milk
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese (you could use more or eliminate all together depending on your tastes)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Here’s what I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 8 x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While that’s coming up to a boil, prep the chicken, veggies, and cheese.
  2. Prepare the chicken mixture: Melt 2 tbsp 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 ¼ cup hot sauce and stir together for another minute or so.  Remove chicken mixture to a bowl and keep warm.
  3. Salt the pasta water and drop the pasta and cook until super al dente, a couple of minutes shy of package directions.
  4. Prepare the sauce: Wipe out the pan and melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard and let cook for about a minute. Add more butter or a splash of oil if it looks too dry (or, conversely, add more flour if it looks too wet). Whisk in the half and half, then add the remaining 2 tbsp hot sauce and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar, pepper jack, and sour cream until smooth. Taste & season with salt and pepper.
  5. Drain the pasta (or scoop out with a spider, my fave kitchen tool), and add to the cheese sauce. Add the chicken mixture to the sauce and pasta, and stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour mixture into the baking dish.
  7. Put the remaining 1 tbsp butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese (if using) and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30-40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
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2 thoughts on “Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

  1. Tricia says:

    If I wasn’t half in the bag at 4pm, I woulda come over and crashed the love party for this! YUM YUM!

  2. victoria says:

    that looks really good that i have saved the recipe to try another time 😀

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