This recipe belongs to my friend Becca Ashford, the winner of our 2017 Macaroni & Cheese Cook-Off! This is a creamy mac n’ cheese beefed up… er, chickened up with the addition of chicken that is tossed in a spicy buffalo-ranch sauce. It is addictive and very difficult to stop eating, hence its win in the popular vote.
To read more about our epic Macaroni & Cheese Cook Off, click here to see my post:
To get the winning recipe, just look right underneath this photo!
- 1 pound chicken breast, trimmed and cooked
- 1 16-ounce box of pasta such as rotini or elbows
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, unbleached
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 2 ½ cups Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pinch of black pepper
- 2 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
- 2 1-ounce packets dry Ranch dressing
- ½ cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (more or less based on individual preference)
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop or shred it. Set this aside.
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain the pasta well and set it aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
In a large-sized bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, ranch dressing mix and hot sauce. Add the chopped or shredded chicken to this mixture and toss the coat the chicken pieces thoroughly with the sauce.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter just begins to simmer add in the flour, salt and pepper. Stir this constantly for 1 minute until it is thickened. Slowly add in the milk and stir it together with the butter mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often so that it doesn’t burn on the bottom. The mixture should thicken as it comes to a simmer. Once it is thickened, remove it from the heat. Stir in the shredded cheese until it is melted and the cheese sauce is smooth.
- Pour the cheese sauce into the bowl with the buffalo chicken mixture and stir everything together.
- Add in the cooked pasta and stir to coat the noodles with the sauce. When everything is combined, pour it into a 9" x 13" baking pan and spread it into an even layer. Cover the pan with foil.
- Bake the macaroni & cheese for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake it for an additional 15 minutes.
- Let the mac and cheese cool for a few minutes and then serve.
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