Meat

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Bowl of buffalo chicken mac and cheese next to casserole dish

 

What is more deserving of the “comfort food” label than Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese?!  NOTHING.  Two of my favorite things (mac and buffalo chicken dip) combined to create a mega perfect meal.  And all you need for ultimate satisfaction is an oversized sweatshirt and your bed!

What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy to make, and isn’t as bad as you may think!  The macaroni and cheese is made with Banza’s gluten free pasta…so no guilt trip there.  And the chicken is slow cooked with Frank’s Red Hot and garlic, to keep it lean and without any added fat, sugars, or carbs.

 

white bowl filled with buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese

 

If desired, you can bake with a butter-panko mixture and add some freshly chopped cilantro for the finishing touch!  This tends to be a favorite of mine on Sunday evenings, when my motivation to do anything is low, but my comfort-food craving is high.

 

hand holding white bowl full of buffalo chicken mac and cheese

 

Earlier in the day, I’ll start by adding 1.5-2 pounds organic chicken breasts in a crock pot, with a little broth, red hot, and garlic.  Let this cook on high for 3 hours, then shred right there in the crock pot using two forks.  If serving later, just let sit in crock pot on WARM until ready to mix in with mac and cheese.

If planning to be out of the house all day, you can cook chicken on low for 7-8 hrs.

 

cutting board with a white bowl full of buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese

 

When ready to eat, make Banza’s Macaroni and Cheese as the directions outline on the box.  Once your mac and cheese is finished, add to a small baked greasing dish.  Take shredded buffalo chicken and mix into your mac and cheese.

I add a little extra almond milk at this point, to keep everything from drying out in the oven.  If adding buttery panko crust, make sure to melt butter before mixing in panko.  Take mixture and sprinkle over top of mac and cheese to form a crust.

If you want to get even fancier, drizzle a little extra red hot on top!  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, add chopped cilantro, and enjoy!

 

 

casserole dish filled with buffalo chicken mac and cheese

 

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Healthy comfort food made with Banza macaroni and cheese, buffalo pulled chicken, extra red hot, and topped with panko and cilantro! So delicious, but without all the extra calories and fats!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banza, buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1 box Banza Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1-1.5 lbs organic chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chicken bone broth
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed or chopped
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter melted
  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • Take chicken, broth, garlic, and red hot, and cook on HIGH in slow cooker for 3 hours.
  • 20 minutes before planning to eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Make Banza Mac and Cheese according to box instructions.
  • Take finished mac and cheese, and transfer to a small greased baking dish. Pour in extra almond milk and mix in. This will help prevent it from drying out in the oven.
  • Turn off crock pot and remove lid. Using two forks, shred chicken directly in crock pot. Take 1 cup of shredded buffalo chicken (or more if you'd like), and mix into mac and cheese in baking dish.
  • Take bowl with melted butter and mix panko into it (add more panko if too liquidy). Sprinkle panko/butter mixture over top of of mac and cheese. Drizzle extra red hot over panko if desired.
  • Bake for 10 minutes with tin foil. Top with fresh chopped cilantro before serving.
Holiday

Valentine’s Day Dinner Part 2: THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

creamy macaroni and cheese in skillet with buttery panko topping

 

Up next on the Valentine’s Day dinner menu is THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese!  This is one of those classic dishes that will never get old and keeps the heart, soul, and taste buds happy 🙂  It pairs nicely with any greens (whether it be a salad or veggies), and is actually a simple recipe to make!  In this case, it pairs nicely with Seasoned Asparagus !

 

skillet with macaroni and cheese with skillet of seasoned asparagus

 

If you want to make a creamy mac and cheese for your v-day dinner (or for any occasion), there are three simple steps you should follow every single time!  Shall we get started?!

How to make the best creamy macaroni and cheese:


  1. Start with a roux: “roo” is French in origin, meaning “browned butter”.  It sounds scary and complicated, but it’s actually a simple cooking method used to thicken sauces!  It’s created by adding equal parts flour and fat (for this recipe, I use 2 tbsp grass-fed butter and 2 tbsp almond flour) to a heated pan and whisking the ingredients together.  In order to blend the flour and butter, you must melt your butter in the heated pan first, then whisk in flour. 

    Once the roux is made, your next step is to take cream and slowly add it to your roux.  The best way to do this is in stages, approximately 1/3 cup at a time, while constantly whisking. You will notice the cream start to thicken as you stir, all thanks to that roux!  This will act as your base for the cheese sauce to make sure it doesn’t become runny or thinned out over the noodles!

  2. Stir cheese in slowly: in order to prevent cheese from burning, the best thing you can do is add cheese to your roux in stages and whisk constantly.  This not only helps prevent burning, but melts the cheese faster due to constant distribution of heat.  In order to add cheese in stages, I cut my cheese into slices (as pictured below) and add a couple pieces of each kind at a time.cheese on cutting board cut into thin slices
  3. Add extra flavor: get creative and give your mac some personality!  Even the “plain” recipe needs a little something, something…and for that I use Nutmeg!  A little bit of fresh ground Nutmeg makes a world of difference and you’ll never go back to regular mac and cheese again.  Or if you want to take a walk on the wild side, stir some bacon and chives into your sauce before adding noodles!  Or lobster, or BBQ pulled pork, or hot sauce…omg the options are endless! 

Whatever flavor floats your boat, just make sure to stir it into your sauce before adding in noodles!

Once your cheese sauce is made, noodles stirred in, all that’s left is to add a panko topping and bake for 30 min.  For panko topping I melt 2 tbsp butter, then stir in 1/2 cup panko so that it soaks up all the butter.  Top your mac with the panko/butter mixture to give the dish some texture.

 

creamy macaroni and cheese in skillet topped with panko crust

 

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.

Have you made this recipe?!

If so, comment below or hashtag #lulustable on Instagram to show me your homemade creation!  I’d love to see what you’re doing in the kitchen!  

Follow @lulus.table on Instagram for more recipes as they get posted. 

Holiday

An Ode to Thanksgiving: A Few of My Favorite Things

stuffing in red casserole dish, mac and cheese in red casserole dish, with cranberry sauce on black table with decorations of nutmeg and herbs

 

GUYS.  We are days away from Thanksgiving, which I might add…is my ALL TIME fav Holiday.  Thanksgiving is the epitome of what this blog is all about, which is why I’m so excited to share these recipes with you!  Not to mention, this Holiday is basically an entire day that revolves around food.  Can I get an amen?!

In honor of Thanksgiving being my favorite Holiday, I decided to feature 3 of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes to share with you guys!  So without further ado, let me introduce you to the crew…

  • THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This mac and cheese will change your life forever.  I’m serious.  It’s so dang good that anyone you serve it to will become your new best friend.  This was a recipe my mom used to make for us growing up, and it continues to be a classic to this day.  AND to make this all the more exciting…there’s a secret ingredient!  Yup…NUTMEG.  Adding nutmeg takes this mac to a whole other level, and will seriously challenge your will power to not eat all the cheese sauce before adding pasta!

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.
  • Gluten Free Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing 

Just to be clear…stuffing is the real MVP of Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s probably the one item that you could mix in with every other dish and it all tastes bomb.com.  Think about it…turkey? Yup.  Cranberry Sauce?  Yup.  Mashed potatoes?  Yup.  Pumpkin Pie?  Well, maybe not pumpkin pie.  

This recipe gives you a gluten free stuffing to make for the centerpiece of your plate.  Find yourself a GF bread, get yourself some sausage, and mix in all the veggies!  Mixing in wild rice is so yummy and gives it added flavor.

Gluten Free Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: gluten free, rosemary, sage, sausage, stuffing, thyme, wild rice
Servings: 10 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 3/4 loaf bread
  • 8-10 oz sausage cooked
  • 3 tbsp butter grass-fed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 sticks celery peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 pack portabello mushrooms chopped
  • 3 cups chicken bone broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice yielded from 1 cup dry wild rice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with oil.  Set casserole dish aside. 
  • Cook 1 cup of wild rice (should yield approximately 3 cups cooked).
  • Add 2 tablespoons EVOO to saucepan and cook sausage over medium heat.  Break apart with a spoon.
  • Take a loaf of gluten free bread, and cut 3/4 of the loaf into small cubes.  Take bread cubes and set aside in casserole dish.
  • When sausage is done cooking, pour over bread in casserole dish.
  • Chop garlic, onion, mushrooms, and celery.  Add 3 tablespoons of butter to saucepan with sausage drippings, add chopped veggies, and cook over medium heat. Sauté veggies for 8-10 min or until wilted.
  • Add chopped herbs (sage, thyme, and rosemary), and 2 cups broth to veggie mixture and stir.  Once broth is warmed up, remove from heat.
  • Whisk together 1 cup of broth, two eggs and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. 
  • In the casserole dish, already containing the bread and sausage, add the vegetables with broth, and cooked wild rice.  Stir together and let cool a little.  Then add broth/egg mixture (want the dish to cool down so the eggs don't cook).  Stir all ingredients together.
  • Drizzle apple cider vinegar over the top to bring out the flavor.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil over top.  Remove foil for last 10 min of baking.

Notes

  • In order to cut down on time there are definitely parts of this recipe that can be prepped days ahead.  For myself, I chopped all the veggies the day before making it.  OR you could make the entire dish a couple days ahead of time and store in an air tight container or freezer bag.  Then on the day of serving, just grease the pan and pop in the oven to cook!
  • If made ahead of time, bring it to room temp, add a little more broth (as it was all soaked up while in the frig), blend and bake.
  • If putting the stuffing in a bird, just stuff and cook as usual.
  • Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

There is something to be said about a really good homemade cranberry sauce.  This recipe avoids the refined white sugar and uses natural sweeteners, like honey and oranges, instead.  The sauce has a wonderful mixture of bitter and sweet, with added dimension from the orange juice, and some seasonal spice of cinnamon.  As if the taste isn’t enough to get you to try it, the color it makes is absolutely gorg!

Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: cinnamon, cranberry sauce, fesh cranberry, homemade, orange
Servings: 10
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 naval oranges juice
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  • In a sauce pan combine cranberries, honey, juice from oranges, and cinnamon stick.  (Some chunks or orange fell into the saucepan while I was juicing them and I just left them in there!)
  • Cook on medium heat for 20 min.  Cranberries will start to pop.
  • Stir a couple times while over heat.  This will help blend the ingredients together, and you'll start to see the sauce forming.
  • Remove from heat to allow sauce to cool and thicken.  Once sauce has cooled, remove cinnamon stick.
  • Store in container or mason jar and refrigerate until time to use!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving this week and that we all take a moment to appreciate those around us.  Enjoy the craziness of family, the time with friends, and the moments shared with one another over some really good food:)