Friday, May 24, 2013

Lunch Week 17: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
This past weekend, I made buffalo chicken mac and cheese for a party I was hosting. However, foolish me, I strayed from the original recipe and decided to experiment. It left the dish undesirable. First, I ran out of bread crumbs while breading my chicken so I tossed in panko crumbs instead. The crunch was fine but it made the pieces too large and when baked as a completed dish, the panko soaked up a lot of the sauce. Second, I left out the roux and instead just warmed milk and melted the cheese. This seemed fine until I added the Frank's Red Hot sauce to the mix. The vinegar in the sauce broke the cheese sauce and left it curdled. The flour in the roux would have kept it together. But I went on anyways as there was no way to turn back. I poured the broken cheese sauce into the dish and baked it as usual. It set but seemed kind of dry. The pasta and chicken pretty much soaked up a lot of the moisture from the sauce leaving it kind of dry. Again, the roux would have prevented this. Sigh... And finally, I crumbled nacho flavored Doritos on top instead of bread crumbs (again, I ran out of bread crumbs). They seemed okay but didn't last through the next day. They were soggy and left nothing to be desired. Oh and I forgot the blue cheese dressing as well. In fact, I just realized this right now as I'm writing this post several days after.

So with little eaten at the potluck (to be honest, it didn't come out good), I reconstituted what was left with more cream, milk, and cheese. Then, I rebaked it. The result was something creamier and more homogeneous. Lesson learned: always have extra bread crumbs on hand and don't stray from what some people may say is perfect already.

For step by step instructions and the recipe on how to make buffalo chicken mac and cheese, go to my previous post here.

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