Making two good dishes into one great one

By: Katelin Gandee - Staff writer

It’s Thursday again, which means one more day to the weekend and another one of my food columns, Yay!

This week I’m taking y’all on a food trip that combines two things I love (warning I love a lot of food, so I say this a lot)” mac and cheese and buffalo chicken dip.

OK, not 100 percent on the buffalo chicken dip, but I wanted buffalo chicken dip AND mac and cheese on the first New Year’s Eve not spent with my parents two years ago. It’s always been a tradition to make buffalo chicken for New Year’s Eve, or mainly I ask my mom to make it when my friends came over because, to this day, I have only gone out for NYE once — and I still think I’m frozen from watching the ball drop in Market Common welcoming 2018. Anyway, my singular roommate and I were at our first apartment because we were working and decided to try and make it celebrate to the new year.

The recipe we chose was a “healthy buffalo chicken macaroni and blue cheese,” because I think at the time we were on a health kick or something, I don’t actually remember. But now when I make the recipe there is nothing healthy about it, because why be healthy if you want mac and cheese?

So now I use way too much cheese and way more hot sauce than a normal person. So feel free to cut back on these two options if you’re lactose-intolerant or not a huge fan of super spicy foods.

You’ll find that most of my recipes come from Pinterest but end up with my own flair to them because I like adding things, especially garlic, soy sauce and hot sauce.

For the hot sauce, I tend to switch between Frank’s hot sauce or my personal favorite of Paula Deen’s signature hot sauce. Currently, my Paula Deen hot sauce is dangerously low, which means I’m likely going to order it online or go to Myrtle Beach to visit my friends who still attend Coastal Carolina and drag them to Broadway at the Beach at this ungodly time of year because of tourists. Sorry if you’re one of them, technically so am I now, but that’s beside the point.

I also use more cheese than needed because I like it to be extremely cheesy. If you don’t like blue cheese you can totally skip that part, it’s just for topping the mac, which I happen to like. I also personally like using the shell pasta for the mac, but you could use elbow or any other type of pasta to be coat in delicious creamy cheese.

What you’ll need …

1 entire box of shell pasta

6 chicken tenderloins

1-1/4 cup of 2 percent milk

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 tablespoon of butter

8.8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese

1-2 ounces of blue cheese

Around a cup of hot sauce of your choice.

1 teaspoon of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions …

For the chicken spread out on baking pan, cover in olive oil and add salt and pepper. Then bake at 375 for around 20 minutes or until done.

Once it’s cooked, move to a cutting board and shred the chicken with two forks. Move to a bowl and add as much hot sauce as desired.

Cook the pasta until it’s cooked to your preference and, while the pasta is cooking, begin making the cheese sauce.

In a sauce pan whisk cornstarch and milk together. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Stir in the butter and when it’s thick enough, use a spoon and, if it covers it, it’s thick enough. Stir in the cheddar cheese and stir until melted and is well blended. If you want it to be extra hot add some hot sauce to the mixture as the cheese is melting.

Place cooked (and drained) pasta in a large bowl and pour the cheese sauce into it. Then add the chicken. You can add the blue cheese and mix it entirely or you can top it for the single servings that want it.

Enjoy.

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Katelin Gandee

Staff writer