What is a favorite ‘football food’ that you love to serve before a big game? I don’t know about you, but at my house football season means buffalo chicken. Nothing screams tailgate, first-and-ten, or touchdown more than a spicy appetizer like buffalo chicken wings, or my favorite buffalo chicken dip. I usually make it as my offering for parties, and it is also typically one of the first things to go. No matter what you serve, anything with hot buffalo sauce seems to be ate pretty quickly. As much as my family loves appetizers like buffalo chicken dip though, I don’t make it very often unless it is for a crowd. However, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on keeping that tailgating experience alive in our own home. It is simple to take a game-day recipe we love and recreate it into not only a heartier, but also healthier version of the meal we love.
Lightened-Up Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 cups elbow whole grain macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- 1/4 cup buffalo wing hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 2 tablespoon light ranch dressing
- 6 ounces reduced-fat yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices
- 2/3 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup reduced-fat crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Sprinkle of Parsley
(adapted from this recipe)
In a large pot, add enough water to completely submerge chicken.
Bring water to a boil. Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt and add chicken breasts. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until center is no longer pink. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
Using a hand mixer on the medium setting, shred the chicken.
In same large pot, bring the water back to a boil. Add in macaroni and cook for 5-7 minutes until al dente. Drain macaroni and set aside with chicken.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon butter to pan.
Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic to pan and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.
Remove onion and garlic and add to chicken and macaroni mixture.
Add 1 tablespoon butter into same saucepan along with flour, cooking until flour is lightly brown, roughly 5 minutes.
Whisk in chicken broth and milk. Add in hot sauce and buffalo sauce, then bring to a slight boil until thick, about 5 minutes.
Add celery seed, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese. Stir until cheese is melted.
Turn down to low heat and stir in Greek yogurt and ranch dressing.
Add chicken and pasta mixture to large baking dish. Pour in cheese sauce and lightly stir until combined.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Place in oven, baking for 15 minutes. Broil on high for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Remove baking dish from oven and sprinkle with parsley and blue cheese.
Do you like to serve/eat tailgate food, even if you are watching the game in the comforts of your own home?
What is your favorite appetizer you would like to create as an entree?
Are you a fan of buffalo chicken? On a scale of 1-10, how hot do you like your sauce?