Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Hopefully you’ve figured out by now that this is not the place to go for light and healthy, trendy super foods. This is not the place to go for your five a day or tips on how to get six pack abs. This is not the place for quinoa, chia seeds, or kale or whatever health food is currently trending. Most of the food you’ll find here might not even look that good on Instagram. Believe me, there are plenty of food blogs out there where you can get all those things. This is not that.

What you will find here is food that tastes really really good. Food that’s indulgent and easy to make. Food that’s so good you’ll want to dance and sing. I guess you could say I’m teaching you self-discipline because this is food you won’t want to stop eating but maybe should. All things in moderation, including Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. I know my point of view, and I’m sticking with it.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese recipe has three different kinds of cheese, plenty of Transformer Chicken, and enough buffalo sauce to make your nose run. It’s not outrageously spicy, but there is a noticeable level of heat. Get into it.

This recipe is a bit involved and will dirty quite a few dishes. Nothing is difficult, but there are a few separate elements that all have to come together. It’s absolutely delicious, though, and makes enough to feed six very hungry people, so it’s undoubtedly worth it. My husband said this was the best macaroni and cheese he’s ever had, and I make a lot of mac and cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s a good thing to know yourself and be content. Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese makes me happy, and I hope it makes you happy, too.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Serves 6
Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese is an indulgent dish with a serious kick.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 ounces unsalted butter, divided
  2. 1 pound elbow macaroni
  3. 2 shallots, minced
  4. 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 3/4 cups buffalo sauce
  7. 2 tablespoons flour
  8. 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  9. 2-1/2 cups half and half
  10. 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
  11. 8 ounces pepper jack cheese or cheddar with chillies, cubed or shredded
  12. 2/3 cup sour cream
  13. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  14. 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  15. 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and spray a large casserole dish or 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add some salt, then cook your macaroni until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  3. While your pasta is cooking, melt 1.5 ounces of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your shallot and cook for a few minutes until it softens. Next, add your chicken and garlic and let it cook for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add 1/2 cup of the buffalo sauce. Stir this all together and bring it to a simmer for a minute or so to thicken the sauce slightly. Turn off the heat and set this aside while you get on with your cheese sauce.
  4. Melt 1 ounce of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard powder to make a paste. Slowly whisk in the half and half, about a half cup at a time, whisking until smooth before you add the next addition. Once you've created a smooth creamy sauce, you can then stir in your remaining half cup buffalo sauce. Once your mixture is bubbling gently, add the cheddar, pepper jack cheese, and sour cream, and stir until the cheese is melted and your sauce is smooth.
  5. Now it's time to toss together all the parts. If your sauce pan is big enough, you can add your pasta and chicken straight into that, but it may need to all go into the pasta pot to give you enough space to stir it all together. Once your mixture is properly combined, transfer the whole lot to your waiting casserole dish.
  6. Scatter the top of the casserole with your panko breadcrumbs, then dot the whole thing with blue cheese all over the top. Finally, sprinkle the parsley over everything.
  7. Bake this mass of cheesy goodness for 30-40 minutes until as brown and bubbly as you desire.
  8. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool before you try to eat this. It's best served straight away, but it's still pretty awesome reheated, though your cheese may become a bit oily.
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
http://awesomeon20.com/
Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

By the time this post goes live, it will be 4:00 in the afternoon in the Pacific Northwest where my family lives. I was just there last week, and I’m still feeling the jet lag. We were awake for a solid 32 hours this weekend with only the occasional nod off on the plane. I managed to curl up on the floor of Heathrow airport in a nest of coats and almost sleep for about 20 minutes. When I got up, I had forgotten for a moment what city I was in.

Anybody who tries to tell you jet lag isn’t real is a damn liar. I feel like I should have been given at least two sick days as I attempted to recover. Instead, I worked for 12 hours yesterday and have another 11 hour day to look forward to tomorrow. If my boss ever tries to tell me I’m not dedicated, I might scream. It’s a good thing I don’t drive or operate heavy machinery because I definitely would have accidentally killed someone this week. 

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The afternoon before Thanksgiving might be the exact perfect time to have a sweet and festive cocktail dropped into your life. This Cranberry Mule will be the perfect start to your Thanksgiving weekend. It’s so fun and goes down easy. There’s a bit of a bite from the ginger beer, and a tart hint from the cranberry juice. Mix up a pitcher of these, and your family will never notice you gave them cranberry sauce from a jar.

Incidentally, it’s so easy to make your own cranberry sauce, you could probably do it while drinking a Cranberry Mule.

This drink can easily be scaled up or down. Mix it in parts and make as much or as little as you like. And if you really want to go all out, freeze some cranberries to use in place of some of the ice in your glass. If you happen to have some of those fancy copper mugs, what better time to break them out? I wish I was as cool as that.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheers to family and turkey and cranberries and booze. Hope you have a lovely holiday.

Cranberry Mule
Cranberry Mule is the perfect sweet, festive cocktail to get you through the holidays.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Ice
  2. 2 parts vodka
  3. 1 part cranberry juice
  4. 5 parts ginger beer
  5. Lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add vodka, cranberry juice, and ginger beer to your desired vessel. If you're making this one glass at a time, start out with the ice in the glass. Otherwise, mix up a pitcher and pour the drink over the ice as you serve. Add a squeeze of lime juice to each glass, from an actual lime wedge if you planned ahead, or from the plastic squeezy lime if you're being more spontaneous.
Notes
  1. If you start with all your ingredients well chilled, your drink get as watered down by the ice.
Adapted from Christmas by Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Christmas by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

So by now you may have heard about our small time Thanksgiving tradition of having Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf instead of a whole turkey. It’s a much more practical approach when you’re only feeding a few people, but beyond that, it’s absolutely delicious. I actually prefer it to a traditional turkey, and now I look forward to eating turkey meatloaf every year. 

But maybe you’re not quite ready to be so untraditional. Maybe you can’t imagine Thanksgiving without white meat covered in gravy. Maybe you want a beautiful centerpiece of a gorgeously roasted bird on your Thanksgiving table. Maybe you’re looking for a turkey recipe that makes just the right amount for a small family of four to six people that’s perfectly seasoned and never dry. A turkey recipe that’s pretty much foolproof that makes plenty of flavorful gravy. This is that.

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This brined and roasted turkey breast with herb gravy is super simple. Since you’re only cooking the breast of the turkey, it usually cooks in less than three hours. Mine was two kilos, and it was done in two hours and 20 minutes. If you eat later in the day, you could even brine it in the morning. And in case you were thinking of skipping the brine, I strongly urge you to avoid that notion. Brining is absolutely key to ensuring a moist and well-seasoned turkey breast.

The gravy comes together quickly and easily as well. The trick is to smash the flour and butter together into a paste so you won’t have any lumps. The fresh herbs will make your gravy seem all sophisticated and junk. Your family’s gonna love it.

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I made this recipe for the first ever Thanksgiving dinner I made myself. I was so nervous, but it came out beautiful, and has done every time since. I hope it works as well for you.

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy
Serves 6
Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy is moist and flavorful every time. I promise, you can't mess it up.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr 20 min
For the turkey
  1. 8 cups water
  2. 1/2 cup salt, plus a few pinches for seasoning
  3. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 1 medium turkey crown (breast)
  5. 4 ounces butter, melted
  6. Ground black pepper
For the gravy
  1. 1 shallot, minced
  2. 4 cloves garlic, smashed and peels
  3. Leaves of 1 sprig of rosemary, minced
  4. Leaves of 1 sprig of thyme, minced
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Ground black pepper
  8. 1.5 ounces butter
  9. 3 tablespoons plain flour
  10. 4 cups low sodium chicken or turkey stock
For the turkey
  1. To make your brine, add the water, salt, and brown sugar to a large pot. Choose something that will allow your turkey breast to be completely submerged. Heat the water and stir until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to come back to room temperature. Putting a cold turkey in hot brine is like creating a bacteria factory.
  2. Completely submerge your turkey in the brine, clamp a lid on, and refrigerate the whole thing for 4 to 8 hours.
  3. When your ready to roast, remove your turkey from the brine, and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry with a few paper towels.
  4. Preheat your oven to 325.
  5. Situate your turkey breast in your roasting pan. Brush your melted butter all over your turkey and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Roast your turkey for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 170. My turkey breast's packaging conveniently had a suggested cooking time that turned out to be perfect, so check your package.
  7. Once your turkey is cooked through, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board. I used a couple of pairs of tongs for this. Cover loosely in foil. Let it rest while you make the gravy.
For the gravy
  1. Pour the liquid from the pan into a bowl or measuring jug. Allow it to sit while you prep the rest f your gravy ingredients so that the fat and liquid start to separate.
  2. Get everything for your gravy ready before you put anything on the heat so that you can move easily from step to step. Put your shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay salt, and pepper into a small dish together. In another dish, use a fork to smash your butter and flour together into a paste.
  3. Add two tablespoons of the fat that's risen to the top of your separated pan drippings back into your roasting pan. Pour or spoon off the rest of the fat so that you can add the flavorful liquid to the stock later.
  4. Situate the roasting pan over two burners, and turn them both to medium. Add your shallot and herb mixture to the roasting pan and sautee for about three minutes to soften the shallot.
  5. Add the stock and any remaining turkey juices back into the roasting pan. Scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring the stock to a boil.
  6. Whisk in your butter and flour mixture. Boil until the sauce thickens about 5 minutes.
  7. Give it a taste and adjust your seasoning if need be. Pull out the bay leaf and garlic cloves before serving.
Adapted from Food Network
Adapted from Food Network
http://awesomeon20.com/
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