I have always had a thing for Macaroni and Cheese, so I was thrilled when I saw this recipe for Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese in the Food Network Magazine. However, I knew it was not going to be so waist friendly, so I substituted a few of the ingredients for more healthy options and the results were delicious!! I am also not a fan of real spicy, but with the right hot sauce it was perfect.
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni (substituted whole wheat noodles)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup hot sauce (used Frank's buffalo hot sauce)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 1/2 cups half-and-half (substituted 2 cups Fat Free)
- 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups) (substituted 2% cheese)
- 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) (substituted Cabot's reduced fat)
- 2/3 cup sour cream (substituted fat free)
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) (substituted regular bread crumbs)
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (substituted reduced fat gorgonzola)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. (The 9 by 13-inch pan is a close fit, I would recommend a 9 by 15-inch) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons 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 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.
Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.
Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted.(I ended up needing to add more butter because I used regular bread crumbs.) Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
This dish is moving up on my list for cook-outs, potluck dinners, casseroles, etc. It easily feeds 6 people and will surely be a crowd pleaser. Bon Appetit.