Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

It’s not really winter.   I know, I know, I am probably jinxing myself, but the amount of snow we’ve had by January 16th this year is pathetic.  I’m not asking for a blizzard.  Just enough snow for the kids to make Olaf.  Living in the Northeast the past two and a half years, we’ve had snow.  Every.  Single.  Winter.  Starting as early as December.  And now…nada.  Quite disappointing for my last winter in CT.  Did you hear me Mother Nature?

Anyways, the weather is definitely chilly.  And there’s plenty of rain.  Now all I need is snow.  Just a little.  When the weather is chilly and it’s gloomy outside, it’s quite natural to want comfort food.  Like macaroni and cheese.  I went to lunch with a friend a while ago and we split the buffalo chicken mac and cheese.  It was spicy and delicious!  So I decided to make my own.  Of course my kids don’t do spicy, so before I combined the chicken and the mac and cheese, I took some out so the kids ate mac and cheese and KB and I had the buffalo chicken mac and cheese.

Start by cooking your macaroni noodles in boiling, salted water – to al dente.  Drain and set aside.

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Then, in a large pot, over medium heat, melt your butter and add flour.   Stir and cook for a few minutes.

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Slowly whisk in milk.  Continue to stir for another 6-7 minutes, as sauce starts to thicken.

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Add shredded cheese.  I used 1/2 lb gruyere and 1/2 lb cheddar.

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Season with salt and pepper (to taste).

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Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium high heat, cook chicken breast in some olive oil.

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Add hot sauce.

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Add noodles to the cheese sauce.

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Stir to coat noodles evenly.  Remove from heat.

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Add chicken to macaroni and cheese.  If you have kids that don’t like spicy, remove some mac and cheese before you add the chicken.

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Stir to combine and pour into a baking dish.  Top with extra hot sauce if desired.

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Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs on top to add a layer of crunch.

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Bake at 375 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Recipe:

1 – 16 oz box elbow macaroni
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
8 oz gruyere cheese – shredded
8 oz white cheddar cheese – shredded
salt and pepper (to taste)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup hot sauce (buffalo style) – more if needed to taste
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Cook macaroni noodles in boiling, salted water until al dente.  Drain and set aside.  In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook for a few minutes (about 5), stirring constantly.  Whisk in milk.  Continue to cook for about 6-7 more minutes as sauce starts to thicken.  Add shredded cheeses and stir until cheese has melted into sauce.  Season with salt and pepper (to taste). Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken breasts.  Add hot sauce and cook until chicken breast is done.  Combine noodles with the cheese sauce and stir until noodles are evenly coated.  Add chicken into the macaroni and cheese.  Pour into a baking dish.  Season with more hot sauce on top (if desired).  Sprinkle panko bread crumbs over the top of the baking dish.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Serve and enjoy!

Caroline