Sara and I love Buffalo Chicken! It could be on a pizza, a taco, a salad, or even a sandwich and we would both devour any food that has the signature orange colored sauce and mouth burning taste! We have found that the key to a successful buffalo chicken dish is that you have to have either ranch or blue cheese to go with the hot buffalo flavor! The addition of cheese and carbohydrates doesn’t hurt either.
Sally makes my favorite macaroni and cheese dish. Her Red, White, and Blue Mac-n-Cheese from a few years ago is a dish that Sara and I still talk about.
Since Buffalo Chicken and blue cheese are made to be served together, what if you combined the two into a macaroni and cheese? I approached Sally with the idea, and here is what she came up with! If there is a macaroni and cheese or buffalo chicken lover in your house, they will love this dish!
Buffalo Chicken Mac -n- Cheese
Large Casserole dish, buttered
3/4 cup Crystal Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks (1″x1″)
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon bacon drippings
8 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cups chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
8 ounces blue cheese crumbles
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 ounces cherrywood smoked bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/3 cup Crystal Hot Sauce
1. In a large bowl add the 3/4 cup Crystal sauce, lime juice, garlic, brown sugar and salt. Stir to blend. Add the uncooked chicken. Toss to coat the chicken with the sauce.
2. In a large high sided saute pan melt the butter and the bacon drippings. Add the chicken and sauce mixture. Cook stirring frequently over medium heat for 12 minutes. Turn off heat. Cover the chicken and let rest on the burner for 15 minutes.
3. While the chicken is cooling, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.
4. Drain the cooked chicken and reserve the cooking liquid. Tear the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and put into a large bowl. Set chicken aside. Put the reserved cooking liquid back into the high sided saute pan. Turn the heat to medium. Bring the cooking liquid back to a simmer. Turn off heat.
5. Add the cream cheese, celery, red pepper and scallions to the saute pan. Stir until blended. Add the heavy cream, sour cream and milk. Stir until blended. Add the Worcestershire, Tabasco and mustard. Stir. Set sauce aside.
6. Add 1 cup of Parmesan, the blue cheese, cheddar cheese and bacon to the bowl of shredded chicken. Add 1/3 cup of Crystal sauce. Toss to blend the cheese and chicken mixture.
7. Add the cooked pasta to the chicken and cheese mixture. Toss to blend. Pour the reserved sauce mixture over the chicken, cheese and pasta mixture. Stir until blended. Spoon the buffalo macaroni into to the prepared casserole pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
8. Bake the Mac-n-Cheese at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and beginning to brown. Remove from oven. Serve warm.
Recipe ©Sally James
Photography ©Taylor Mathis