Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

It’s winter and that means COMFORT FOOD. All day every day. I love mac and cheese and I love buffalo, so…ta da! Buffalo chicken mac and cheese it is. I found this recipe which was “lightened-up” but I tweaked it a bit based on my tastes and what I had in the kitchen. It turned out to be delicious, easy, and made about 8 servings, so I could eat plenty!

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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Adapted from: Prevention RD

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups dry whole wheat pasta
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp ranch dressing (or ranch dip mix)
  • Garlic powder and dried dill, to taste
  • 1 cup Mexican blend cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ⅔ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, cooked and shredded
  • ¼ cup panko

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet (I used a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Once hot, add flour and stir, then add milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, stir in hot sauce, ranch, garlic and dill, and shredded cheeses. Mix until cheese melts; remove from heat and stir in the yogurt, mixing well. Mix in cooked pasta and shredded chicken.
  3. Transfer pasta to a greased baking dish and top with panko [I ended up needing an 13 x 9 AND a 9 x 9 pan because it made a lot!] Bake for 20-30 minutes or until bubbly. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until panko is browned.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Lightened-up Ranch Dressing

I LOVE buffalo sauce. I find it funny that I used to hate anything spicy, and now I’m buying jars of jalapenos and Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce like it’s going out of style. Oh how things change! I also love my salads, so I figured why not combine my two loves into one? I prefer making homemade ranch dressing because it’s much healthier, I know all the ingredients, and I can make it lactose-intolerant friendly. Store-bought ranch (even the ranch seasoning packets) almost always have buttermilk as an ingredient, so I have to stay away from that. Not everyone with lactose intolerance can handle yogurt, but it doesn’t give my stomach any issues, so I used yogurt as the base for this dressing. It’s so yummy and tastes even better once it sits in the fridge overnight! This is one of those “I am claiming this is a recipe but it’s really a handful of things thrown together to suit my tastes” type of recipes. Which means you can adapt it to match your tastes too – like it less spicy? Use mild buffalo. Want to make more chicken? Just up the amount of sauce when baking. Like your dressing thicker? Use more yogurt. Go wild!

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Buffalo Chicken Salad with Lightened-up Ranch Dressing

Adapted from: The Skinny Fork

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Buffalo Sauce (I like hot!)
  • 1 lb. salad mix
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 4 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tbsp milk (I use soy)
  • 1-2 tbsp dried dill flakes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Lay out tenderloins and smother in buffalo sauce. Bake for about 20 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Let cool and shred chicken.

2.) To make the dressing, combine the yogurt, mayo, milk, dill, garlic, mustard, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk together. Feel free to add more of any ingredient as necessary, adding more milk to thin it or more yogurt/mayo to thicken. Put in a jar or container in the fridge; it will last about a week!

3.) In a large bowl, make your salad! Top salad mix with a handful of tomatoes, diced pepper and cucumber, and 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds and blue cheese crumbles. Top with 1/4 cup of shredded chicken and the amount of dressing you would like. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread “Panini”

Hello everyone! I had another busy weekend; I went to the cape with friends and my boyfriend, then to the Zac Brown Band concert at Fenway! I can’t believe tomorrow will be July. Time is flying!

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Wallpaper at my hotel on the cape…need this in my future home!

Last week was pretty busy, so I needed something quick and easy to make for dinner. I bought these flatbreads at Wal-Mart and they made the perfect quick dinner! You can make pizzas, paninis, sandwiches…so many options!

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I decided to make buffalo chicken paninis with them…I cooked some chicken breasts, shredded them, and threw it in a flatbread with buffalo sauce, soy cheese and reduced fat blue cheese crumbles. Grilled them in my quesadilla maker (you could also use the stove top or a George Foreman grill) and they were ready! I made a side of Ranch dipping sauce, which was just plain Greek yogurt with ranch dip mix and dill flakes. Voila!

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