An epic duo

Cooking and eating are two of my favorite things to do, and I've truly found my match in Chris. Well, he doesn't cook much, but he can certainly eat. We definitely love our food, but our tastes are quite different. He is a true 'meat and potatoes' guy, and I'm... well, I like meat and potatoes too, but unlike Chris, I have little taste-bud restriction. So, I guess when I say that we have 'different' tastes, I really mean that he doesn't like a lot of things that I really really like. These foods include (but are not limited to) pickles, seafood, mushrooms, chocolate-covered raisins, olives, cottage cheese, dark chocolate, vinegar, sushi, artichokes, cilantro and sour cream... whew. I am proud of him though because his foody horizons have definitely expanded since we've been together (I can actually use onions in my cooking now!!). Luckily there are two scrumptious foods in this world that we both really really love- buffalo chicken and cheese (mmm, my mouth is watering as I type the words). Anyway, we got our fix on both the other day when I made this casserole. I was so excited when I found the recipe that I (literally) immediately started cooking it for lunch... at 9:30 am. It's true. And Chris was just as excited... we had it for lunch and dinner that day. :) Sooooo good.

Buff Chick Mac 'N Cheese!
-6 slices bacon
-1 lb. chicken tenderloins
-1 lbs. elbow macaroni
-10 tbs. unsalted butter (divided)
-2 cloves fresh, minced garlic
-1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour (divided)
-3 1/2 c. milk (divided)
-3/4 tsp. black pepper
-3/4 tsp. salt
-3 c. sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
-3 c. monterrey jack cheese (divided)
-1 egg
-1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
-2/3 c. hot sauce
-1 c. bread crumbs
-1/2 c. ranch dressing

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
-Coat bottom and sides of a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
-Arrange bacon on a foil-lined pan and bake until crisp, allow to cool and coarsely chop
-Boil a large pot of salted water over medium heat, add  macaroni and cook al dente, drain, place back in pot
-Melt 8 tbs. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk in garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes
-Whisk in 1/3 c. flour and cook about 1 minute, then add 3 c. milk, salt and the pepper, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently
-Add 2 c. cheddar and 2 c. Monterrey jack (reserve additional cheese for topping) and stir until melted
-Combine cheese sauce and bacon with macaroni until well combined, pour evenly into prepared baking dish
-Put remaining 1 c. flour in a medium-sized bowl, and in another bowl, whisk remaining 2 tbs. milk and egg together
-Coat chicken tenderloins in flour, then dip into egg mixture and back into flour
-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat and fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through -Drain grease off on a paper towel-covered plate, then coat chicken with hot sauce in a large bowl
-Carefully slice chicken into bite-sized pieces, evenly place on macaroni, and drizzle extra hot sauce on top
-Sprinkle remaining cheeses and bread crumbs over casserole
-Melt remaining 2 tbs. butter and drizzle it evenly over the bread crumbs
-Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and bubbly (about 25 minutes)
-Cool and drizzle with ranch dressing before serving

**Do your little tastebuddies a favor and try this stuff! They will definitely thank you for it, and then, you can thank me later... happy cooking!

1 comment:

  1. umm seriously? this is amazing. i need to eat this with you though, jay would not appreciate. neither would my belly fat, but whatevs. bring it on!


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