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Buffalo Ranch Chicken Mac 'n Cheese

Happy Monday! I hope you had a fantastic weekend doing something fun and/or at the very least, enjoyed something delicious. I had quite a busy weekend {as usual} full of great food. Friday The Baron and I celebrated Bastille Day early and enjoyed an amazing meal at Le Bouchon, a French restaurant in Chicago {review coming soon!} Saturday I taught a French Macarons class that went really well. Later that night I also hosted a Cuban inspired 'Havana Nights' cooking party for a great good group of folks. Then Sunday was an early day doing a cooking demo on camera followed by getting our fill of amazing BBQ at a fun event downtown. We pretty much ate our way through the weekend! Today, I'm sharing a recipe I made for my family, which was inspired by the weekend. Yesterday, was not only Bastille Day but it was also Mac & Cheese Day! I don't know of any child that doesn't like Mac & Cheese so in honor of this, I made this Buffalo Ranch Chicken Mac 'n Cheese. The favorite flavors of buffalo chicken wings are brought to life in this version of mac and cheese with ranch seasoned chicken and a creamy blue cheese bechamel sauce...

So I mentioned I was on camera... and here's the video! I did a live cooking demo on ABC 7 Chicago news yesterday morning in honor of Mac & Cheese Day. I decided to share a tweaked version of the original recipe here, which incorporates ranch seasoning, as I mentioned on the interview. Enjoy!...





Full Disclosure: The giveaway is sponsored by Country Crock, who also provided me with a Casserole Club kit containing food related product to review and use. Products I review and offer as a giveaway are ones I personally recommend, would use/enjoy myself and the opinions reflected are mine alone.



Buffalo Ranch Chicken Mac 'n Cheese 
Recipe adapted from Mac & Cheese Please 

2 pounds skin-on, bone in chicken breasts
1 tablespoon dry ranch seasoning
2 tablespoons Country Crock
2 tablespoons Frank's RedHot Sauce or more to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1 pound {GF} small shell pasta or small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons butter, cold
1/4 cup all-purpose flour or GF flour blend
2 cups whole or reduced-fat milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups Parrano cheese, coarsely grated
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup Frank's RedHot Sauce plus more to taste
4 medium celery stalks, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

1/4 cup {GF} breadcrumbs

Debone chicken breast and remove the skin. Set skin aside and cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Coat chicken in ranch seasoning.

In a skillet over high heat, add the butter and then add chicken. Cook on both sides until browned and juices run clear. Remove from skillet and transfer to a large bowl. Add hot sauce to coat and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the reserved chicken skin and cook until browned and crisp through. Transfer skin onto a paper towel to soak up any fat. Reserve cooked skin for garnish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside. 

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt the 2 tablespoons cold butter. Slowly whisk in the flour and stir constantly until a paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Continue stirring for about 2 minutes more, or until the mixture starts to darken slightly and smell a bit nutty. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream and add a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until the mixture starts to thicken and begins to bubble around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Add the Parrano cheese, the blue cheese, cream cheese, and hot sauce. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth but not too runny. It should be similar in texture to a loose cake batter. Add the pasta, chicken, celery, and chives and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with more grated Parrano cheese if desired. Garnish with chives and crumble crisped chicken skin. Serve with extra hot sauce.

18 comments

  1. You did awesome Joelen! I would have totally been flapping whenever someone asked me a question, you rock that camera, girl!

    (PS: loved your necklace)
    x

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  2. Wow, you've worked throughout ALL the weekend! If the result was this Buffalo Ranch Chicken Mac 'n Cheese, congrats, it's really great!

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  3. Wow, I might actually be able to get the husband to eat Mac and Cheese with this recipe! He is crazy about Buffalo Chicken.

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  4. This looks really tasty! I've been looking for some new recipes and I think we'll try this one.

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  5. That looks heavenly! Mac and cheese is a favorite and that would be a huge hit with my family!

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  6. The hot sauce sounds like it would make this so yummy! I can make this with vegetarian chicken so easily. Thanks for sharing :)

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  7. Oh my heck, this has my tummy growling already. I may head to the store to make this tonight.

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  8. Ok, that looks so freaking good! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  9. Well that's kind of a cool twist!

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  10. Ooo this sounds like really great comfort food. :)

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  11. What a great recipe for a simple night of cooking. Can't go wrong with MacNCheese and anything

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  12. that looks delicious! I love mac & chz with kids its a great way to get them to try new things so fun too!

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  13. I'm a vegetarian so I would make this without the chicken but i bet it would still be amazing! sounds like a great recipe! thank you so much for sharing!

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  14. We love Mac n Cheese!!! Need to try this asap!

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  15. This sounds great! We love mac and cheese. This one looks like it would have some zing.

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  16. Two of my favorite things - ranch and mac & cheese! Yum!!

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  17. I totally missed mac and cheese day!

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