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.

Broccoli Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese

I just realized that my last three recipes were all full-blown comfort meals…I don’t mind it at all! This time of year certainly calls for warm meals that make you want to stay inside and forget about the cold New England weather outside. This mac and cheese was the perfect winter recipe – it has plenty of cheese while sneaking in a bunch of veggies! Then the addition of crumbled bacon is the perfect topping. Enjoy and stay warm!

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Broccoli Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more if desired)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1 10-oz package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
  • 10 oz uncooked pasta
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until crisp and remove from pan onto a paper towel-lined plate.

2.) Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings and saute until soft. Add stock, milk, and squash and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add pasta, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add in broccoli. Cook until pasta is done and sauce is thickened.

4.) Add 1 cup of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon and the rest of the cheese on top.

Lightened-up Broccoli Mac and Cheese

So it’s snowing as I type this. Welcome to New England winters! Therefore, it’s the perfect time for comfort food. This week I made another recipe from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (of course): Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese. I made it with whole wheat pasta to add some healthy whole grains and fiber. It was delicious and a very filling meatless dish, but I assume it would also be good with some bacon or chicken (maybe next time 🙂 ). Enjoy!

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Lightened-up Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Adapted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook by Gina Homolka

Ingredients:

  • 1 12 oz. bag broccoli florets (I use Steamfresh so I can steam them right in the microwave!)
  • 12 oz. whole wheat pasta
  • 2 tbsp. butter (I use Earth Balance Organic)
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used 1 1/2 cups reduced fat and 1 cup regular)
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with oil.

2.) Steam broccoli in the microwave. Cook pasta, drain, and set aside.

3.) In a large skillet (or I used my Dutch oven) melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft.

4.) Add flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk until it boils. Cook until sauce gets smooth and thick.

5.) Season with salt and pepper and remove pan from heat. Stir in cheddar until it is melted, then add in the broccoli and pasta and stir.

6.) Pour mixture into the baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then turn oven to broil and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown (keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook!)

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 457
Fat 13.8 g
Fiber 6.7 g
Carbs 57 g
Sodium 601 mg
Protein 21.5 g