Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe

Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients

For the quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper

For the chicken

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the cheese sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (whole or 2% is ideal)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce (or your favorite buffalo sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional, but adds great tanginess)

For topping (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Chopped green onions

Instructions

1. Cook the quinoa

  • In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa, broth, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
  • Fluff with a fork and set aside.

2. Cook the chicken

  • While the quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Add chicken to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then shred into bite-sized pieces.

3. Make the cheese sauce

  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in buffalo sauce, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese until cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth.

4. Combine the ingredients

  • Stir the shredded chicken and cooked quinoa into the cheese sauce.
  • Add crumbled blue cheese (if using) and adjust seasoning if needed.

5. Broil for a bubbly top (optional)

  • Preheat your oven’s broiler to high.
  • Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish. If desired, combine panko breadcrumbs and melted butter and sprinkle on top.
  • Broil for 2-4 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbly.

6. Garnish and serve

  • Sprinkle with chopped green onions for a fresh flavor boost and enjoy immediately!

Tips

Spice it up: Adjust the amount of buffalo sauce to your preferred level of heat.

Creamier sauce: Add a dollop of sour cream or cream cheese to the sauce for extra richness.

Make it vegetarian: Omit the chicken and use vegetable broth. You can add in some extra veggies like chopped broccoli or spinach.

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