Love buffalo chicken as much as I do? Well, here’s a healthier way to get that fix!
If you’ve ever perused my recipe index, it’s no secret that I *love* pretty much all things buffalo sauced. I’m not a fan of oh-my-god-my-tongue-is-melting hot stuff but I do enjoy the sweet tangy kick that comes from this orange nectar of the spicy gods.
Let’s face it, though, even baked wings aren’t the healthiest for you and I’d like to get that fix a bit more often. So when I saw this buffalo chicken casserole of at Eating Well, I knew it would get made quickly and become part of the rotation.
Admittedly, Mr. Onion-hater was skeptical when I told him about it. He thought it would be a vinegary buffalo sauce over chicken and noodles which didn’t appeal to him. This is more of a creamy casserole with a strong buffalo sauce flavor which he was pleasantly surprised by. I’m glad people trust me when I cook for them. 🙂
And talk about a bowl of comfort! It really did give that same satisfaction of buffalo chicken with a side of celery and carrots but had that level of comfort that big bowls of pasta can bring. And, since this makes A LOT, I had plenty of lunches for the week which was a huge plus.
The next time I make this, I think I’m going to add mushrooms to it as well. And/or maybe peas. Oooh! Or broccoli! Actually, I could see adding all sorts of veggies to this depending on what I have on hand or what’s on sale. I love that about casseroles.
I know this recipe takes a little longer than most I post but the last 30-40 minutes are hands off so I still consider this a quick one suitable for a weeknight.
- 13.25 oz box of whole wheat shell noodles
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 medium carrots, ⅛" slices
- 5 medium stalks celery, ¼" slices
- 2 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
- ⅓ c cornstarch
- 4 c milk (I used skim)
- ⅓ c Frank's RedHot sauce
- 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 9" x 13" casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions for 2 minutes less than listed. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and stir to coat in oil. Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until the celery is just beginning to soften.
- Stir in the chicken with more salt and pepper to taste. Cook the chicken, stirring often, 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink on the outside.
- Whisk together the cornstarch and milk and add it to the skillet. Bring to a boil over med-high heat then simmer, stirring frequently until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the hot sauce with more salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Stir in the pasta then spread evenly in the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese then bake 25-30 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Let set about 10 minutes before serving.
So… tomorrow is my last day at my current job. It still seems so surreal. I mean, I do/did a great job but that makes no difference when the position has been eliminated. I’m still not sure if I will cry tomorrow or not but I guess we’ll find out. Hopefully one of the interviews I’ve had in the past week will turn into an offer! 🙂