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!

 

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

 

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

 

Looking to grab yourself a couple boxes of Banza Mac and Cheese?!  Try a variety pack to see which pasta shape and flavor cheeeeeeese you love most 🙂

 

 

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, Meat

Valentine’s Day Dinner: Putting it All Together

seasoned ribeye, mac and cheese, and asparagus

 

So now you have each of the individual recipes for this dinner, but how the heck do you coordinate all of these dishes without setting fire to the house?!  Do not fear my friends, find all the answers you need on timing and prep in this here blog post 🙂

[Prep Steak]

 

seasoned ribeye in a skillet, with sides of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

First place to start, is the steak marinade.  Either the night before, or a coupe hours before dinner you’re going to want to put the marinade on your steak.  This will take all of 5-10 min, and when you’re finished, just wrap it tightly and set it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. 

Depending on your time or how you want to set up dinner, the side dishes can be made right before serving, or prepared ahead of time, and then baked in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

[Prep Side Dishes]

mac and cheese and asparagus before being baked

 

Let’s start with the seasoned asparagus first!  Prep work for this is very minimal, and really just requires assembly.  Make sure to rinse your asparagus spears, trim the bottoms off and then lay in a greased baking dish.  Drizzle with oil and season with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, cover with foil, and set aside.  If being prepped more than an hour before baking, store in the fridge.

 

close up of mac and cheese and asparagus in two skillets on a white table

 

Next is the mac and cheese!  Make sure to cook your noodles before starting the cheese, that way you can stir them in as soon as the cheese is ready!  If you let the cheese sit for too long it will start to harden, and then you have to go through the process of heating it up again, which is just a pain!  Once you add the panko crust topping, cover with foil and set aside, or store in fridge if prepped more than an hour before baking.

A tip to save you time…cook your noodles the night before and store in a air tight zip lock bag in the fridge.

[Bake side dishes]

45 min before the estimated dinner time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the preheat is finished, pop the side dishes in and bake for 30 min.  Cover both with foil for first 20 min, then remove for last 10.

While side dishes are baking, pour yourself a nice glass of wine to sip on, because you’re dinner is almost done!  Last step…cooking the ribeyes!

 

macaroni and cheese and asparagus in skillets with a bottle of wine

 

[Sear Steak]

Remove your ribeyes from the fridge and set on the counter.  Take a large frying pan or skillet and add butter.  Set to medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, begin searing your ribeyes.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 min.

 

two ribeyes in a skillet with a side of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

By the time your steaks are done, your side dishes will be finishing up in the oven!  Serve however you like and enjoy!

 

ribeyes in skillet with side of mac and cheese and asparagus

Ribeye Steak Marinade

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dinner, marinade, ribeye, steak
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 ribeyes bone-in, or no bone
  • 4 tbsp grass-fed butter

Steak Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning enough to cover both surfaces of ribeye

Instructions

  • Prepare steak marinade by mixing together oil and garlic paste in a small bowl.  Brush over both sides of each ribeye.
  • Cover both sides of ribeyes with Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Wrap tightly and let marinate in fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
  • Begin cooking right before serving.  Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat on stovetop.  Add butter and let melt.
  • Once butter has melted, add ribeyes and sear 1 minute on one side, and then flip and sear 1 minute on the opposite side.  Repeat process until desired temperature is met.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on desired temp.  As a reference point, for a medium steak cook for 10 min.
  • During periods of searing, take a spoon and scoop melted butter and fat drippings over top of ribeyes.
  • Serve after cooking.

 

Seasoned Asparagus

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: asparagus, baked, everything but the bagel, healthy, seasoned, simple, trader joes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bundle fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Trader Joe's

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a small baking dish.
  • Take bundle of asparagus and cut an inch off the bottom stem.
  • Rinse asparagus, then lay in baking dish.  Drizzle oil overtop and season with Everything But The Bagel.  Add as much seasoning as you'd like, or enough to cover surface of asparagus.
  • Bake for 30 min.

 

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.

 

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.