Sunday, December 1, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

Haven't blogged in awhile, no good excuse as to why I haven't either :)  I have been making this mac and cheese for a few years and I love it because it allows me to use up whatever hunks of cheese I have laying around in my fridge.  We had Thanksgiving last week, so I had a hunk of sharp cheddar, some gruyere, and big hunk of some type of white cheese that I bought at Coscto and took the label off of, oops!  You can mix whatever types of cheese you want, as long as it equals 6 cups.  If your family likes blue cheese, trying using some on top of the chicken and the casserole.  The hubby can't stand it, so I just used a cheddar blend.  This makes a big 9x13 deep dish pan of pasta; enough to feed at least 10-12 people.  I made it for my husband and I and will portion out the rest for freezer lunches.

For a lower carb version of this use Dreamfields lower carb pasta on its own or mix in steamed cauliflower with the pasta (use half of the amount of pasta) and of course don't top it with potato chips. 

2 boxes of penne pasta (or any tube shape of your choice) cooked and drained
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour (use whatever kind you have, I used white whole wheat) 
3 cups milk (any type)
3 cups chicken broth (or veggie broth)
6 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I like gruyere, sharp cheddar, and a mild cheddar).  Separate cheese into a 4 cup portion and a 2 cup.
2 tsp. dried mustard (or 1 tbsp. dijon)
2 tbsp. Onion Onion (dried onion or 2 tsp. onion powder)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
4 cups shredded chicken 
1 cup Frank's Hot sauce (change the amount according to your taste)
Crushed potato chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

In a medium bowl toss the chicken with the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook until it slightly darkens and smells a little toasty.  Pour in the milk, whisking to incorporate.  Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a light boil.  Once it has started to thicken add in the dried mustard, salt, pepper, and Onion Onion.  Once the mixture has slightly thickened, start adding the 4 cups of cheese slowly, whisking until it is melted in.  Toss the pasta in the sauce.  
Grease a deep 9x13 pan. 
 Ladle in 1/2 of the mac and cheese mixture.  Top with chicken and 1 cup of shredded cheese. 

Cover it with the other 1/2 of the mixture.  Top with shredded cheese and crushed potato chips.  Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until is is browned and bubbly.  Remove for the oven and let sit for 20 minutes.