I know, all my posts lately have been either cupcakes or macaroni & cheese. That says a lot about me, right? I like fatty, cheesy, carb-loaded foods. But in all honesty, macaroni & cheese is probably the most basic, easiest and common comfort food. I can make it blindfolded (same with cupcakes), which is a good thing since I’ve been busy with other things. Yes, my dear readers, I’ve been lazy and distracted lately… mainly with my hair. No seriously. I have a new haircolor/cut and it’s massively cute. Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen it already but for the rest of you:
Do you like it? How about my apron? And my Jem button and mini whisk? Don’t hate…
I was on a mission to find a cut that suited my not-quite-fully-grown-out hair. It just so happens that I decided to go a lighter blonde, and get rid of my highlights, so when I saw the color I just knew I had to cut bangs, get the back stacked & get myself a Velma Kelly-esque ‘do. It’s very flapperish/1920′s. I’ve had this style before, just in black. I keep going back to it, but this time in an amazing platinum/so-white-it’s-almost-lavender blonde. I guess it’s the whole 20′s thing that does it. It’s my favorite era. Just imagine me wearing rolled down stockings doing the Charleston with a flask tucked in my dress. Or something.
Anyway, sorry, went off on a tangent there.. like I was saying… macaroni & cheese. It’s comfort food. And who couldn’t use lots of comfort food? It also just so happens the newest issue of the Food Network magazine agrees with me; they have 5 or 6 amazing recipes for macaroni & cheese with a twist, one of which I made just a few weeks ago. I’ve been macaroni & cheese obsessed lately.
Anyone who knows me knows I love hot/spicy food and blue cheese. I could eat buffalo wings with blue cheese all day, everyday. I put hot sauce on everything. And blue cheese? I dip chicken fingers in blue cheese, french fries, I love it on burgers, etc. One of my favorite sandwiches at a restaurant me & Jay frequent is the Bourbon Street grill: grilled (almost blackened) spicy Cajun chicken on toasted garlic bread with blue cheese. God. I just love it. Once we ordered this Cajun shrimp as an appetizer at another of our favorite spots and Jay took one bite and was disgusted, he had to gulp down almost an entire pint of beer just to cool his mouth off. I loved it… it was so hot! Jay laughs at me because he says he actually likes to taste his food, whereas I seem to just douse everything in hot sauce. *makes sad face* It’s not true. I like to taste food too! I just love hot stuff… and how the blue cheese cools it down. Some people are just built to tolerate it better, though, I guess. Some sauces that others deem too hot is just fine with me. Plus, hot sauce is good for you. it speeds up your metabolism, helps heal ulcers contrary to popular belief and also helps clear your sinuses and drain phlegm and mucous from your nose, etc. Don’t believe me? Read this.
So in other words, this recipe was like a gift from the foodie gods to little ol’ me. BUFFALO CHICKEN MACARONI & CHEESE… WITH BLUE CHEESE. Yeah, my heart stopped too. I also had hears where my eyes should have been. So as it turns out, last week I roasted a chicken for Sunday dinner. I had a lot of chicken leftover, and that’s where this recipe comes in. The next day, I used the leftover chicken for the chicken in this recipe, instead of buying a rotisserie chicken just for this. Do as you like in that department, though. I guess you could even cook some chicken breasts up and shred it as well.
See the chunks of buffalo chicken? Unf.
I changed the recipe a bit to suit me once again, so I’m giving my version of it here. If you want the real version (which includes dry mustard powder, onion, celery and other things I cleverly omitted) then buy the Food Network magazine, bitches! But whatever you do, if you’re a fan of buffalo chicken or blue cheese, you HAVE to try it. It was, in the words of Brianne: amazeballs. And I want to thank the second (the first, most assuredly, is Sarah Palin) most famous American idiot (no Green Day pun intended), Jessica Simpson, for the quote that titles this post. Remember when she thought buffalo wings were made of buffalo? *sigh*
BUFFALO CHICKEN MACARONI & CHEESE
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish
- 1 ½ cups shredded cooked rotisserie chicken (like I said, I used leftover chicken from when I roasted a whole one… )
- 1 pound pasta (I used shells, but anything will work)
- 1 bottle Frank’s RedHot hot sauce (original)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups half-n-half
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 pound cheddar cheese (sharp or mild, whatever you like), shredded
- 1 cup panko
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil; add the pasta and cook according to package directions for ‘al dente.’ Drain. DO NOT RINSE.
- Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and garlic, cook 2 minutes. Then add ½ cup of hot sauce and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Add the half-n-half then add ¼ cup hot sauce and sour cream. Stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar until smooth.
- Melt two tablespoons butter and mix it with the panko, parsley and blue cheese. Set aside.
- Put the pasta in the dish. Pour the cheese mixture over the macaroni and mix well. Top with the chicken, then the panko/blue cheese mixture. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until panko is slightly browned and cheese is bubbly.
I will 1,000,000% make this again. It was unbelievable and totally delicious. I would add more blue cheese next time, I didn’t feel there was quite enough for my liking, and I’d add some blue cheese dressing to the hot sauce/cheese mixture as well as having the crumbled blue cheese & panko on top. But that’s just personal preference. It was quite hot, with ¾ of a cup hot sauce in it total. If you want to tone it down, I’d suggest just using the hot sauce on the chicken, not in the cheese mixture as well. And if you’re really unsure, do it ¼ cup at a time, and then taste. I happen to have quite the tolerance, so for me it was hot, but amazing. For others, it might be too much, especially older people or small kids. I’d also bake it a bit longer because my panko didn’t brown enough or get crunchy enough.
Stay tuned later on this week for part one of my much requested frosting tutorial!