Sunday, January 20, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese, made with chicken, shell noodles and some common elements from my Buffalo Chicken Dip with Bacon.
Macaroni and cheese, made with chicken, shell noodles and some common elements from my Buffalo Chicken Dip with Bacon.

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese in just about any form you can make it. My favorite, hands down, and one of the most popular recipes on my site from day one, is the 'overly decadent but so totally delicious it's worth making,' special occasion mac and cheese. I have a more reined in mac and cheese that I enjoy making a little more often too, plus I'm still working on getting that gooey, stringy version some of y'all like so much. I've made and consumed many batches of mac and cheese trying to get there, but since I'm a creamy mac gal, I just haven't gotten it to where I want it for posting quite yet.

This recipe is based on the Frank's Ultimate Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese and my own Buffalo Chicken Dip with Bacon, another site favorite since I shared it back in early 2010. Now... fair warning. This recipe does use some cheddar cheese, but it also uses cream soup, packaged Ranch seasoning and Velveeta cheese. Just so you know - no apologies for that either, but if y'all wanna make a homemade sauce and seasoning mix, hey... go for it! I'm sure it will be even more better.

I garnished the final dish with the sliced green onion and bacon, just as I do with my dip, and, well, because I happen to like it that way. You may certainly omit one or the other, or both, or use a buttered, crushed cracker or bread crumb topping instead. If you're a big fan of blue cheese, crumble some on top as a garnish.  I'm sure it'd be great served as is, with no topping too.

Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Cook time: 35 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 pound of medium short cut pasta (elbows, shells)
  • 3 cups of cooked shredded or chopped chicken
  • 8 ounces of Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 (3/4 ounce) packet of Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix (like Hidden Valley)
  • 1/8 to 1/2 cup of hot sauce, or to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish; set aside. Add pasta to boiling salted water, cook to al dente; drain well and add to casserole dish. Stir in chicken.

Heat the Velveeta and soup together until cheese is melted. Blend in the cheddar cheese and milk. Stir in the Ranch dressing mix and hot sauce; pour over chicken and pasta and stir. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.

Cook's Notes: I use 1/4 cup of hot sauce which leaves a nice, pleasant burn on the tongue and is plenty of heat for me. You may want it with more or less fire. May also substitute drained, canned chicken - you'll want a larger sized can of a good quality chicken, two is even better, or substitute chicken you've pulled from a rotisserie chicken. Top with buttered bread crumbs and crumbled bleu cheese on top, rather than green onion and bacon.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by Mary on January 20, 2013
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