buffalo macaroni and cheese

school lunches were always a BIG deal when i was little. all the cool kids were ‘packers’ – you know, their parents tossed gross sandwiches into brown paper bags and if they were REALLY great they also got some pre.packaged.chocolate.cupcake.with.that.white.swirly.on.top.

the little 8 year old me was super envious.

i, on the other hand, was a ‘buyer’ through and through.

thus, i was at the whim of all.decisions.cafeteria.lady. taco.salad.day? yep, i was buying. werid.green.meatloaf.day? yep, sign me up for that one, too.

but there was one day that always brought GREAT joy — mac and cheese day. yes yes. thats right. ooey gooey fluorescent orange cheese ‘sauce’ poured over soggy elbow macaroni noodles. de-friggin-licious. (even little derek who chewed with his mouth open could not distract from the deliciousness of that luncheon meal. ok. maybe his grossness did put a damper on things. but i was not to be dismayed.)

so for today’s simpletosucculent monday.munchie, here is my homage to the little ‘buyer’ in me – mac and cheese for big kids – spiced up with hot sauce, sprinkled with blue cheese, and packed full of protien!

(1 – shells.and.cheese buffalo mac, 2 – buffalo mac in phylo cups,

3 – cauliflower buffalo mac, 4 – all.grown.up gourmet buffalo mac)

so here’s buffalo macaroni and cheese – super simple to super succulent. make some for your kids lunch box. make some for your next dinner party. make some for the dudes who watch college football at your house. whatever you do, just make some. you wont be sorry, i promise (even if little derek still chews with this mouth open!).

shells and cheese buffalo mac

1 box shells.and.cheese.sauce

1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded

2 tablespoons hot sauce (or more to taste)

chopped parsley or cilantro, if so desired

1 – prepare shells.and.cheese according to box directions

2 – when prepared, stir in chicken, hot sauce, and parsley, to taste. enjoy!

buffalo mac in phylo cups

(this one is also super simple)

1 batch of prepared shells.and.cheese buffalo mac

1 box frozen phylo dough, thawed

2 tablespoons butter, melted

buffalo.flavored popcorn seasoning

blue cheese crumbles

1 – preheat your oven to 375 degrees

2 – build your phylo dough. place one thin sheet of phylo on your counter. brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with popcorn seasoning. layer another sheet of phylo on top, brush with butter, and sprinkle with seasoning. continue until you have 4 layers of dough (end with a plain layer of dough on top). cut dough into 4 rectangles (about 3 inches by 4 inches ish)

3 – spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and place a piece of dough in each cup, pushing it all the way down. spoon some buffalo mac into the phylo cups, and top with blue cheese crumbles.

4 – bake for 15 minutes, or until the phylo is golden and cheese is nice and crusty! enjoy!

cauliflower buffalo mac with caramelized onions

(trying to cut back on processed carbs? this is a GREAT option – super tasty, and i promise you wont even miss the pasta!)

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets

2 cups whipping cream

1 tablespoon dried mustard

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesean cheese

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

1 large onion, very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup hot sauce

1 – in a large pot, boil the cauliflower florets until tender. drain, and set aside.

2 – caramelize the onions. in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. toss in the sliced onions, and cook, slowly, until the onions are super soft and dark brown. remove from heat and set aside.

3 – meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. in a saucepan, cook the cream over high heat, stirring constantly, until reduce and thickened (about 30 minutes). when thick, stir in the dried mustard, cheddar cheese, parmesean cheese, and blue cheese. continue to stir until all the cheese is thoroughly melted.

4 – in a large bowl, mix together the cauliflower, the cheese sauce, the chicken, and the hot sauce. season to taste, if need be. top with the caramelized onions, and enjoy!

all.grown.up gourmet buffalo mac

1 box elbow macaroni

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 batch cheese sauce (see cauliflower recipe above!)

2 cups roasted chicken, chopped

1/2 cup hot sauce

blue cheese crumbles, for sprinkling

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup dried bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter

1 – preheat your oven to 350 degrees

2 – in a large pot of salted water, boil the elbow macaroni until just tender. drain, and set aside.

3 – in a large skillet, saute the celery and onion in the olive oil until tender and slightly golden. season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

4 – in a large bowl, mix together the noodles, sauteed vegetables, cheese sauce, chicken, and hot sauce. spoon into a greased baking dish, and top with blue cheese crumbles, chopped cilantro, and bread crumbs. dot with butter

5 – bake for ~30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown! enjoy with a side salad and a glass of cool chardonnay!

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Categories: recipes

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2 Comments on “buffalo macaroni and cheese”

  1. September 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Great photos. This looks awesome!

  2. September 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Collier – your site is so great…and i want this meal, now.

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