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Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese

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Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese is the perfect combination of your favorite bar snack and favorite bar dinner. Perfect for any time, full of gooey cheese and topped with panko- black truffle salt bread crumbs. 

Buffalo Mac N Cheese in dish

 

I love anything and everything cheese and when I heard about a contest through Wisconsin Cheese, one of the sponsors of the Food & Wine Conference, I knew exactly what I wanted to make and that was Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese.

Oh, the thought of all the heat from buffalo wing sauce, shredded chicken cooked just right, ooey-gooey cheese mixed with curly pasta was just making me drool.

I had been itching to try this combo for a while and this just gave me the push to put it all together. Grab your forks, because this recipe is one you will be digging into for sure!

A few years ago we were invited to a neighbor’s picnic and I decided to bring a recipe for Buffalo Chicken dip. It was such a hit, that it was gone within half an hour and multiple requests for the recipe soon followed. In fact, it was so popular, that it seemed to pop up at every single function in the neighborhood afterward; Bunco gatherings, book clubs, cocktail parties and well, you get the idea.

Some folks even tried taking the “easy” route using canned chicken, which, suffice to say made me die a little inside each time I saw this presented. I would often hear “I don’t know why yours tastes so much better,” and I would tell them it was because I cooked the chicken fresh, each and every time. It is a basic step, but a very important foundation for this recipe.

Building the Best Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese

To make this, you will need very basic building block ingredients; chicken, buffalo chicken wing sauce and cheese.

First step; cook your chicken fresh with a little olive oil, salt & pepper. That’s it. Nothing fancy, just good fresh cooking.

browning chicken in cast iron skillet

You can purchase 2 large boneless chicken breasts and slice them thin (to cook a little faster) or you can buy a pound of chicken breast cutlets from your grocer’s meat department.

Over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and let it get hot. Add your chicken pieces so that you fill the pan, but don’t crowd the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until golden brown. Turn and season again with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken until all are cooked.

You have two options for the next step and it is totally a bite-preference thing. If you like tiny cubes of meat, then dice your cooked chicken and place in a bowl. If you like shredded chicken, then shred with two forks and place in a bowl.

Wing sauce pouring out of bottle1

Pour Frank’s Buffalo Wing Chicken Sauce over prepared chicken. Toss with a fork so all meat is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight.

coated chicken in buffalo wing sauce in bowl

When ready to make your Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese, Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Now, we make the cheese sauce.

In a heavy bottom pan or dutch oven, melt butter. Add flour and while constantly stirring, allow butter and flour to cook until smooth. Slowly add your milk and stir until mixture becomes creamy and thick enough to coat the back of your spoon; this should take about 10- 12 minutes. Now it is time to add your cheese and stir gently to incorporate and allow it to melt. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Buffalo Mac N cheese on wooden spoon serving

Turn off heat and add your buffalo chicken. Stir until completely incorporated. Pour in your drained, cooked pasta and fold until all noodles are completely covered. Pour mac n cheese mixture into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet

Mix 2 tablespoons of melted butter into 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs. Add 2 tsp. black truffle salt and stir well.

cheese bubbles close up in buffalo mac an cheese in oven

Top Buffalo Mac N Cheese with bread crumb mixture and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until topping is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Buffalo Mac N Cheese on spoon1

Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

I’ve used the buffalo chicken base in many different recipes, trying to find the best flavor combinations. Of course, there is the basic dip, but I’ve put this in baked potatoes, quesadillas, eggs, nachos, and even made a delicious Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese to go along with my chicken noodle soup.

Yield: 12

Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese

Buffalo Mac N Cheese on spoon1

Buffalo chicken mac N cheese is the perfect combination of your favorite bar snack and dinner. Perfect for any time, full of gooey cheese and topped with panko-black truffle salted bread crumbs.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • Chicken:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, sliced thin for fast cooking
  • salt & pepper
  • 5 oz. Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce
  • Mac N Cheese:
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb. box curly pasta- elbows or cavatappi
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • Topping:
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp black truffle salt

Instructions

  1. Over medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil to pan and let it get hot.
  2. Add Chicken pieces and season with salt & pepper. Cook for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Turn and season again and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces until cooked.
  5. Dice or shred your chicken and place in a bowl.
  6. Pour Franks Hot Sauce over chicken and toss with fork. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  7. TO MAKE MAC N CHEESE
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  10. CHEESE SAUCE
  11. In heavy bottom pan or Dutch Oven, melt 1 stick butter. Add flour and stir constantly, until butter and flour are smooth.
  12. Slowly add milk and stir until creamy and thick enough to coat the bottom of your spoon- should take about 10-12 minutes.
  13. Add cheese and stir gently to incorporate and allow to melt. Add salt & pepper. Turn off heat and add buffalo chicken. Stir completely.
  14. Add cooked pasta and fold in to chicken mixture.
  15. Pour cheese mixture into 10-inch skillet.
  16. Mix 2 Tablespoons melted butter into panko bread crumbs, then add 2 tsp. black truffle salt.
  17. Top Mac N Cheese with bread crumb mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown and bubbly.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 619mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 18g

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Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Great comfort food to me, Kelly!

Kelly Pugliano

Tuesday 16th of June 2015

Same here Cindy...this is why the extra chicken falls into so many other recipes! I just never put it together with MacNCheese...but SOOO glad I finally did! :)

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