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Orange and Blue Buffalo Chicken Mac ‘n Cheese

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

College football, mac ‘n cheese, and a crazy fall market, oh my!

Who else out there is with me that this is the absolute BEST time of the year? I’m talking about college football season!! The weather is amazing, the activities are abundant, and the food is delicious. The sound of Big and Rich (attached below for hype), Kirk, Lee, Desmond, and Rece blaring out of your speakers at 9 am Saturday morning feels like Christmas morning!


I grew up in an extreme Gator household and was dressed in orange in blue since before I could walk, so of course I did the same with my son.

We were losing the game that day, can you tell?

I had so many amazing memories spent on the University of Florida campus tailgating, and inside the Swamp for games, with my Dad being a season ticket holder. I of course then attended the University of Florida to get my undergraduate degree and continued on with more amazing memories, making lifelong friendships. Fast forward to today, and just as I mentioned above, I love starting Saturday off with College Gameday and coffee (unless I’m on the t-ball field, then “kickoff” starts at the noon game). Still dressing myself and my son (and sometimes the dogs) in our orange and blue and cheering the Gators on from home. It’s been a bit different this year, with the season starting a month later and now with a pause for two weeks because of positive Covid tests for the players, and I am of course wishing everyone a speedy recovery.

Speaking of things being different, can we talk about what an insane year the Real Estate market has seen?! The majority of agents in the Atlanta area seeing their best year in the business, the interest rates being at a record low, being in a sellers and buyers market at the same time, and seeing sales pace and price continue to incline during the fall months when things are usually dying down! It’s been a wild ride being in the business of Real Estate and I am excited to watch this fourth quarter unfold.

Alright, back to the food! When you think football food what’s the first food that comes to mind? Wings, right? Or maybe chips and dip? Yes, I agree! So, long ago I created this recipe of Buffalo Chicken Mac n’ Cheese, it has been enjoyed and shared among many of friends and I am excited to share it with you all so you can make it tonight, tomorrow or maybe next Saturday (when your team is playing because I’ll still be crying about the Gator game being postponed, again). Ever since I created the recipe I’ve tweaked it little by little and I think this version is pure perfection. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments once you try.

So, let’s gather our ingredients…

Typically I have used boneless skinless chicken breast, but I had an epiphany this time- why am I not using chicken thigh since that’s what chicken wings are- dark meat?! Mind blown, I know. Anyhow, you’re welcome to use any kind of chicken you’d like (breast, thigh, already cooked, etc). Either way, unless you did buy already cooked chicken, you need to roast it. I lightly coated it in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked it in the air fryer for about 18 minutes on 350.

Anyone else obsessed with their air fryer?

While that cooks, preheat your oven to 375 and place a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. A few things to note about the pasta- you can use any short cut of pasta you like, you’ll notice from my ingredient picture I used whole wheat penne. I chose that for my wonderful mom who tries to eat very little carbs or when she does, only whole wheat.

The whole wheat pasta really holds up well in this recipe, but if I were choosing my favorite, I would use this…

No matter what pasta you use, you just need to be sure to generously salt your water and cook it 2-3 minutes less than the package instructions, being that it will continue to cook in the oven. While the pasta and chicken cooks, let’s make our cheese sauce! Start with melting your butter and whisking in the flour, cooking about two minutes.

Next, whisk in your milk and simmer about 5-10 minutes. I just use what I always have on hand in my fridge which is 2% milk. However, you could use whole milk, half and half or even cream, I just wouldn’t do skim. The higher the fat content the richer the sauce, but I’ve never had a complaint when using my good ol’ 2%. Also, I ended up using 3 cups, not the 2 indicated in my ingredient picture. It won’t fully thicken, but when it bakes along with the pasta it ends up yielding the most perfectly creamy sauce.

Then whisk in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup (depending on how spicy you like it) of Buffalo wing sauce.

Finish that delicious sauce off by whisking in 2 cups of yummy mild cheddar cheese. Watch it melt into an ooey gooey pot of delightfulness.

By now your pasta should be cooked, so go ahead and drain off the water and set it aside. Your chicken should also be cooked, so chop it into bite sized pieces and coat with another 2-4 Tbsp of Buffalo wing sauce.

Combine the cheese sauce, pasta, and coated chicken; turn it out into a greased 9×13” baking dish; and top it with the remaining two cups of mild cheddar cheese and the entire container of blue cheese!

Bake that baby for 20 minutes in your preheated 375 degree oven and enjoy! Click the links at the top and bottom of my page to get to my Instagram page "stacypatrick_thisrealtorcooks" or my Facebook Page "Stacy Patrick, C21" to see me cook this recipe!

Buffalo Chicken Mac N’ Cheese

Servings: 8-12

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs

  2. 1 Tbsp olive oil

  3. Salt and pepper

  4. 1 lb short cut pasta

  5. 2 Tbsp butter

  6. 2 Tbsp flour

  7. 3 cups milk

  8. 4 cups mild cheddar cheese

  9. 1/3 to 2/3 cup Buffalo wing sauce

  10. 1- 5 oz container blue cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13” baking dish and set aside. Lightly coat chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook in air fryer for 18 minutes on 350 degrees, or roast in oven for about 25 minutes. Place a pot of water on to boil, add generous amount of salt when at a rapid boil, cook pasta about 2-3 minutes less than package instructions.

Place butter in a sauce pan and melt on medium low, whisk in flour and cook 2 minutes being careful not to burn mixture. Crank heat up to medium high and add milk, whisk for about 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened. Turn off heat then whisk in 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of Buffalo wing sauce; add 2 cups of cheddar and stir until melted and smooth.

Drain pasta, and set aside. Chop cooked chicken into bite sized pieces and coat with 3-4 Tbsp of remaining Buffalo wing sauce. Combine pasta, cheese sauce and coated chicken, then turn mixture out into the greased 9×13” baking dish. Top with remaining 2 cups cheddar and the entire container of blue cheese Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and top is lightly browned. Enjoy!

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