Veggie-Packed Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

That title, that was the inspiration of my day yesterday.  I wanted mac and cheese, I wanted buffalo chicken and I KNEW I needed some veggies in the mix.  It was all I was thinking about all morning.

It was on my mind while I was eating breakfast.

Oh, it is love.

Welcome the newest addition to my breakfast lineup: Almond Breeze Almond Milk & Coconut Milk Blend. My local Harris Teeter featured this as a NEW ITEM and I can’t resist bold letters and coconut anything.

The verdict? It’s amazing. It’s like a little pina colada in my morning cereal!! Adding in some pineapples, I basically feel like, even though I’m eating twigs (errr… I mean Fiber Fruit & Nut cereal), breakfast time has become a mini-vacation. I mean, I’m not off in the tropics (yet) but it’s delicious.

The mac and cheese was still on my mind when I stopped by the grocery store (to pick up the ingredients).  Luckily, I also picked up a little amuse-bouche from the in-store Starbucks.

Hand shown for perspective

I present the tiniest, tastiest Starbucks shot.  I wanna tell you it was a strawberry smoothie, but I honestly don’t know. It was pink, covered in whipped cream, and even had it’s own tiny straw.  Irresistible.

And, of course, it was on my mind when I got home.  So I did some searching on the internet, scouring Pinterest to see if this had been done before.  And maybe it had, but I got lazy and decided to do it on my own.

The results were cheesy, healthy(ish), and delicious.

Appetizing looking? Maybe not. Fantastic? Absolutely.

I didn’t write down exacts, but here’s the best I got for a recipe.

Ingredients:

  • One cup of whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 2 Cups of water (for cooking the pasta)
  • 1/5 of a red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 of a red pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of EVOO
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of finely riced cauliflower
  • 1 Laughing Cow Blue Cheese wedge
  • 1/4 cup of Frank’s Red Hot (original is my favorite)
  • 1 Chicken Breast (grilled and chopped in bits)
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • As much shredded cheese as you’d like (I went with about 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar, and a few sprinkles of mozzarella and “Mexican blend” cheese)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta as directed, and set aside.
  3. Sauté onion and pepper in the olive oil until soft and delicious.
  4. Place pasta, chicken, and veggies (onions, cauliflower, red pepper) in a loaf pan, stirring to mix up ingredients.
  5. Put milk, Laughing Cow wedge, and 3/4 of the cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second spurts, stirring so that it becomes creamy.
  6. Pour creamy cheese over mix, adding Frank’s Red Hot to the mix and stir, coating all the pasta/chicken/veggies (liberally).
  7. Sprinkle extra cheese over the mix for a meltiness.
  8. Place pan in the oven, and cook until hot and melted.
  9. Enjoy the HECK out of it!!

Add some extra Frank's if you are addicted to heat.

So good.

What food (foods) do you get cravings for?

Mac and Cheese is always one of mine.

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