Lighter Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe

Yields: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz whole wheat or gluten-free pasta (elbows, shells, or rotini work well)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (adjust to your preferred heat level)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Sauté the chicken: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  • Cook chicken: Add the chicken pieces, salt, and pepper. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
  • Make the cheese sauce: Reduce the heat to medium. Sprinkle the flour over the pan drippings and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.
  • Finish the sauce: Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, blue cheese, and buffalo sauce until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Combine everything: Add the cooked pasta and chicken back to the skillet. Toss to combine everything thoroughly in the sauce.
  • Optional topping: For a bit of crunch, sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs over the top of the mac and cheese.
  • Bake (optional): If you’d like a bubbly, browned top, transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly.
  • Serve: Serve hot and enjoy!

Tips:

  • Customize it: Add other veggies like chopped celery or bell peppers. Top with green onions or fresh herbs for extra flavor.
  • Make it spicier: Increase the amount of buffalo sauce, or add a pinch of cayenne pepper for extra heat.
  • Creamier option: If you prefer a creamier sauce, substitute some of the milk with light cream.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

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