This is my "Grumpy's gotta have something to take to work for a party, I've gotta get my fridge cleaned out before vacation, and I wanna use my new little baking tasting dishes" kinda post." 🙂
Grumpy had an office holiday potluck lunch at work last week. I am not sure why these things are so hard for me. Maybe because I want to make sure whatever I make is yummy but also different. In any case, when Grumpy first told me he volunteered me to make something for his office party my first thought was that I needed to make that yummy buffalo macaroni and cheese my friend brought to work last year. Then the thought left my mind and before I knew it the night before his party was here.
If your one of my Facebook friends, then you are bound to know that I am not a night person. I can be up as early as 3 am and by 4:30 am will be out the door headed to the gym. Well, the evening before his party I could not for the life of me stay awake. It was 7 pm and I was dying to go to bed. Miss Kitty was hogging the love seat so I threw a blanket on the floor, watched the rest of a tv show with Grumpy, and was in bed by 7:30. Yup. 7:30 people. I went to bed earlier than my kids would go when they were little ones. Grumpy tells me that's what getting old gets me. HA (I don't think so Grumpy!). Anyway, I woke up close to 3 am and did not want to get out of bed. Any other day I wouldn't have had any trouble. But that day, I had to not only make Grumpy his dish for work I also had to be at the dentist for a follow up at 7 am. There was no way I was making it to the gym that morning. I wasn't too happy about that part, but I had to give it up for that day.
I opened my fridge doors and thought to myself, what can I use to make this dish that will help me clean the fridge out some and still not "hurt my reputation" as Grumpy put it. I believe his words were "It just needs to be good, your reputation is at stake." I still believe it was his reputation he was worried about. I found some half and half, almond milk, sour cream, a mix of colby, cheddar and gorgonzola cheese. I had a large can of chicken in the cabinet, some Frank's red hot and butter along with garlic that my parents grew in their garden that they sent home with me. I decided I would give it a go and see where it went. The worst case scenario would be Grumpy would have to stop at the store, grab some cheese and crackers, and tell everyone at work that I was too old and tired to cook the night before.
Before I even had the sauce and the chicken mixture mixed together, I knew it was going to be a winner. The sauce itself was awesome. I couldn't believe I had made that yummy sauce out of my head and with what I could find in my fridge. I put the majority of the mac & cheese in the large crockpot dish and served up 3 small portions in my baking tasting dishes. Baked the tasting dishes at 350 for 25 minutes, the crockpot for 40. I put the crockpot in the warmer, set it to warm and told Grumpy to take it to work and do the same...that his reputation would be safe. Oh, I'm sorry, I mean, my reputation. 😉
This is my contribution to Presto Pasta Nights! Can you believe it Ruth?! I actually have a PPN post from my busiest week ever! 🙂 This weeks host will be Rachel of The Crispy Cook.....and guess what? She's also from the Capital District! I couldn't believe it when I read her email address which insinuated to me where she was from....I realized she had to be from NY - so I read her about me and found out she is so close to me! How exciting. Her blog is a good mix of recipes (kind of how I like to think mine is!) and she has a mix of different diets in her home, just like Grumpy & me! Now, how I didn't notice this before is mind boggling to me since she is hosting PPN for the 3rd time now! Shame on you Shelby Mae! 😉 I'll definitely be reading more of her posts once I return home from vacation! Oh yeah, we fly away today to sail away tomorrow on the Carnival Glory ship for a full week of pampering, relaxation, good food, and fun!
Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese
(for the crockpot and/or a party of baking tasting dishes!)
1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce, divided
1 large can Chunk Chicken, drained
3 cloves garlic
2 heaping tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup half and half
2 cups almond milk (unsweetened, plain)
¼ cup sour cream
4 ounces colby cheese
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
panko crumbs for topping
Cook macaroni according to package directions and set aside.
While macaroni is cooking you can create your sauce. Saute 3 cloves of garlic in 1 tablespoons butter for a few seconds - until you can smell the great aroma 🙂 Add the chunk chicken and Franks red hot. Simmer for a couple of minutes then set aside.
In heavy saucepan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons of butter until bubbly. Add flour, salt, and pepper and whisk to make a roux - it will get thick. Gradually add the almond milk/half and half mixture, whisking all the while. Once sauce has thickened again, add sour cream and cheeses and stir until melted. Add chicken/hot sauce mixture and cook another minute or two.
Add sauce and macaroni together and stir well. Place in large crockpot or baking dish, sprinkle with panko crumbs. My crockpot has a removeable bowl so I first baked mine in the oven to crisp up the top some. I then had grumpy put the crockpot on warm setting for his party.
Serves 16 (regular sized servings)
Serves 36 (tasting dish servings)