I concocted this No-Bake Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n Cheese recipe after hubby proclaimed he'd like me to try making a Buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe. Boy did he scarf it down, and he went back for seconds!
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I concocted this No-Bake Buffalo Chicken Mac 'n Cheese recipe after hubby proclaimed he'd like me to try making a Buffalo chicken mac and cheese recipe. Boy did he scarf it down, and he went back for seconds. So did I! It really turned out yummy! And it was easy to make, which makes it all the better.
And if you're a fan of buffalo anything, you'll really enjoy my Buffalo Chicken Dip!
Macaroni and Cheese - the ultimate comfort food
Mac and Cheese recipes have been around for a few centuries, at least. Thomas Jefferson brought macaroni to the United States, after he first encountered it in Paris. His "pie called macaroni" also included Parmesan cheese, and he even served it at a state dinner when he was President, in 1802. In the early days, it was considered a dish for the upper classes. But as the popularity spread throughout the growing country and the recipe appeared in cookbooks along the way, it became more accessible to the masses.
There are as many variations on mac & cheese as there are creative cooks. Traditionally, the dish is prepped on the stove top, then baked in the oven. Of course, Kraft simplified the process for the hurried cook with its stove-top boxed version, which is how most kids were (and still are) first introduced to it.
Sliced hot dogs, fresh tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and topping it with chili and pulled pork are popular additions to macaroni and cheese. The sky's the limit.
What makes this Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe work?
Jarred cheese salsa? Yes! I opted for Tostito's Salsa con Queso because I know it will stay creamy. The jarred version makes the dish come together faster, and it's got a little bit of heat to it that works really well with this dish.
And the beauty of this No-bake Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe is, well, no oven!
I also added bleu cheese crumbles, since it's a traditional accompaniment to Buffalo wings. Feel free to skip it completely if you're not a fan.
I used just two pans for this dish - one skillet for frying chicken and one for boiling the macaroni. You can even have both pans going at once. Don't worry, it's manageable. If you want, you can fry the chicken first and then do the rest afterward. That way you get a little wine break, too 😉 I used the macaroni saucepan to finish off the dish, which is just a matter of mixing the chicken, cheeses, and pasta. Serve it up topped with some bleu cheese crumbles and chopped green onion. So simple.
Can't get enough cheese and pasta dishes?
If you're a fan like me of these two ingredients that seem to have been made for each other in mac and cheese, you'll also like this Beef Noodle Casserole. Or keep the heat theme going and try my Taco Pasta Casserole. They're both winners I think you and your family will enjoy.
No-Bake Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut to bite-size pieces
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
- ¼ cup Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wings Hot Sauce
- 4 ounces Tostito's Salsa con Queso (I used Medium)
- 2-3 ounces bleu cheese crumbled, ⅔ for the sauce and ⅓ for garnish
- ⅓ cup sliced chopped green onions or scallions for garnish
- You'll have two pans going at once, one for frying chicken and one for boiling pasta. Don't worry, it's manageable; but if you want, you can fry the chicken first and then do the rest afterward. That way you get a little wine break, too.
- In a wide saucepan, start the water for boiling the pasta. Don't forget to salt the water. If you've got a non-stick wide saucepan, whoever is doing clean-up will thank you for using it, since the cheese is going into this pan.
- At the same time, in a large, non-stick skillet or saucepan (again, non-stick makes for easier clean-up), start heating up the cooking oil to about 350°.
- Place the cut-up chicken in a large kitchen storage bag with a zip closure. Add the salt and pepper, close the bag and shake until the chicken is coated well.
- Add the macaroni to the boiling water.
- While the pasta is boiling (about 8 minutes or so), use a slotted spoon or wire spider/skimmer to remove the chicken from the bag and shake off excess flour. Carefully add it to the hot oil. Break up any pieces that have stuck together, and fry for about 5 minutes, turning as needed to cook evenly. Turn off the flame on the oil.
- Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the pan with the slotted spoon or spider and place them on paper towels to drain and cool briefly, then toss the chicken into a clean zip-bag. Add the Frank's sauce to the bag, zip it closed, then shake and toss the chicken until it's coated well with the sauce.
- When the pasta is done, turn off the flame and drain it, shaking out any excess water. Place it back into the pan, off heat.
- Add the Tostito's Salsa con Queso and about ⅔ of the crumbled bleu cheese, and toss until the pasta is well-coated with the Tostito's. It's important not to overdo the bleu cheese, because since it's a strong-tasting cheese it could easily overpower the dish.
- Add the chicken to the pan and mix until the chicken is covered with cheese and distributed evenly throughout the pasta.
- Serve up garnished with the extra bleu cheese crumbles and green onion.