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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Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast Pot Pie

Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I love breakfast, but I’m not a morning person. During the week. my husband graciously makes tea while I stumble around pretending to be human. Breakfast is usually a granola bar or a bowl of instant oatmeal at my desk once I’m properly awake. 

But I absolutely adore breakfast foods, which is why I think I’m going to have to start throwing weekend brunch parties. There are so many great recipes to share. Plus is just so relaxing to be able to start your day laughing with friends. I think I’m going to invite everyone to come over in their pajamas some Sunday soon. Who’s up for it? Is this a terrible idea? I think it might be brilliant.

Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve got a lovely little breakfast casserole for you today that’s a semi-homemade, two pan wonder to make your friends and family smile in the morning. I mean, obviously, you could also eat this for dinner. That’s what I did. It’s dang good all the time

This Breakfast Pot Pie starts with a layer of hash browns. Here in the UK, you can basically only get pre-formed, triangular hash browns from the freezer section, so that’s what I used. I loosely fitted as many as I needed into the pan I was going to build my casserole in before cooking them to tell how many I needed. Once they’re cooked, you can give them a bit of a squish to make a more solid crust.

You’ll also want to be careful not to overcook your eggs, but don’t undercook them either, or your top crust will be perfectly golden brown before your eggs are set. I making it sound complicated, but it’s really not. Basically, when your eggs look like they’re about halfway to scrambled, starting to set but still quite loose overall, it’s time to turn the heat off and transfer them to the casserole dish. 

Finally, if you’re making this in the UK, I used a tube of croissant dough, but of course, in America, go for crescent rolls. And don’t overthink the geometry when you’re adding them to the top. Get everything covered and leave yourself a nice edge that will get golden and puffy and buttery and amazing.

Breakfast Pot Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

When was the last time you made breakfast for some friends. With this Breakfast Pot Pie, you’re out of excuses. Get on it, kids.

Breakfast Pot Pie
Serves 6
Breakfast Pot Pie is a delicious casserole layering hash browns, cheese, eggs, and buttery pastry that's totally awesome.
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Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 10-12 frozen hashbrowns (however many it takes to cover the bottom of your casserole dish
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 1 cup shredded cheese (I have used cheddar and swiss, but most anything that melts well would work)
  4. 8 eggs
  5. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  8. 1-1/2 cups chopped deli ham
  9. 3 ounces cream cheese
  10. 1 tube croissant dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F and grease a rectangular casserole or baking dish.
  2. Warm your oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook your hash browns until crispy on each side. You may have to do two batches. Once your hash browns are crisped, arrange them in your baking dish. You can give them a bit of a squish to make sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
  3. Spread the cheese evenly over the hash browns.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, chives, salt, and pepper. Add ham and cream cheese.
  5. In the same skillet that you cooked your hash browns in, add your egg mixture over low heat. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go to scramble your eggs. When about half of your egg mixture is set, turn the heat off, and transfer the eggs to your baking dish. Spread them evenly over your hash browns and cheese.
  6. Finally, arrange your croissant dough over your casserole by placing the point of the triangle in the center, and rolling up any portion that would hang over the edge. My roll of dough had six croissants, but I only needed five to cover my casserole.
  7. Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the eggs are fully set. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Savory Pie Recipes
http://awesomeon20.com/
Cheesy Potato Soup | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheesy Potato Soup

Cheesy Potato Soup | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

The first time I made this soup, I was extremely skeptical throughout the entire process. I don’t know quite what it was, but I just didn’t have confidence that it would turn out right. I was apologizing before I served it just in case.

See, people who don’t cook much think that anyone who can cook can automatically make perfect food all the time? Friends assume I would be amazing on Bake Off or Master Chef. They have no idea how hard that type of cooking and baking actually is. They also have no idea how many times my kitchen experiments fail.

This soup, though, is decidedly not a failure. It might even be a kitchen triumph. This Cheesy Potato Soup is stupid awesome. Like swoon-worthy. It’s quite rich, so only give yourself a small bowl. You’ve got to plan ahead for this because once you start eating it, you won’t want to stop. 

Cheesy Potato Soup | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Usually I try to trust my instincts in the kitchen, but they were way off base here. This soup is where it’s at, kids. You absolutely must try it.

Cheesy Potato Soup
Serves 4
Cheesy Potato Soup is rich, cheesy, and impossible to stop eating.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces smoked streaky bacon
  2. 1/2 onion, peeled
  3. 1 stalk of celery
  4. 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  5. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  6. 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  7. 1-1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  8. 1 teaspoon paprika
  9. 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  10. 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1-1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
  12. 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  13. 1/2 cup milk
  14. 1/2 cup cream (or replace milk and cream with one cup half and half if you can get it)
  15. Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste (I didn't need to add any extra salt, so definitely actually taste it)
  16. 1 green onion, chopped
Instructions
  1. Put a soup pt over medium heat, and scissor your bacon into it. Cook until your bacon pieces are crispy, then remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. If your bacon has given up quite a lot of fat, you may want to spoon some out until you have only a couple of tablespoons left in your pot.
  2. While your bacon is cooking, roughly chop your onion and celery so that they'll fit into your food processor. Toss in the garlic clove and pulse until you have itty bitty bits of vegetables. Once your bacon is out of the pot, add about a cup of your blitzed vegetables into the hot pot. Give them a good stir and cook until they're softened, about five minutes.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over your vegetable mixture, and give it a good stir. Let it cook for a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour flavor.
  4. Next add your potatoes, mustard powder, and paprika. Stir to make sure everything is combined and your potatoes are coated in the spices.
  5. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce to the pot. Your potatoes will be just barely covered. Bring this up to a bubble, then lower your heat to low, put the lid on your pot with just a crack to let some of the steam escape, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Once your potatoes are soft, give them a quick mash. I like this soup with a bit of texture. The more mashing you do, the smoother it will be, obviously.
  7. Stir in the cheese, milk, and cream and let it cook while stirring for a minute or two until the cheese is melted.
  8. Remove the pot from the heat, taste for seasoning, and add some pepper and cayenne, as well as salt if you think you need it.
  9. Add your soup to the bowl, then sprinkle on some of the crispy bacon, and scissor some green onion over the top. Try not to eat the whole pot by yourself.
Adapted from Popular Pinterest Recipes
http://awesomeon20.com/
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