Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese "Muffins"
These “muffins” are a perfect mash-up of two of my all-time favorite comfort foods. I’ve actually had Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese on my to-do list for a really long time, but there are a lot of recipes out there for it and I wanted to put an Emily Bites spin on it. I used my own recipe and decided that since my first attempt at Mac & Cheese Muffins were such a success, breaking out my muffin tins for these was a perfect solution. The result was a tray full of cheesy, portion-controlled macaroni muffins that I couldn’t wait to share with you all. I considered using pure blue cheese in the recipe, but since that can be a pretty intense for some people I decided to go with my absolute favorite brand of light blue cheese dressing, Marie’s. It gives the muffins a hint of creamy blue cheese flavor without being overpowering. The 3-4 tablespoons of wing sauce I listed give it a nice Buffalo flavor without being over the top spicy. If you like more heat, taste the sauce and add a little more before you add the eggs.
I love making main course “muffins/cupcakes” because they allow me to enjoy all the sinful, gooey, cheesy flavors of my favorite comfort foods in perfectly portion controlled servings so that I don’t go overboard. I like to eat two of these along with a side of fruit or a salad for a filling and complete meal.
If you don’t have muffins tins, are out of eggs, or you just feel like serving this in a baking dish, you can absolutely do that instead. Just omit the eggs and egg white (since they are only there as a binding agent to hold the muffins together) and transfer the pasta/cheese mixture into a baking dish instead of muffin tins to bake. In this instance it will make 6 servings and you can just double the Points+ and nutrition information for each muffin for a serving.
Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese Muffins
Source: Emily Bites Original
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 c skim milk
¼ t garlic powder
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup light blue cheese dressing (I used Marie’s – it’s the best!)
3-4 T Buffalo Wing sauce (I used Anchor Bar brand)
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 cup cooked shredded boneless skinless chicken breast
1 medium celery stalk, chopped small
4 cups cooked whole wheat or high fiber macaroni (about 8 oz uncooked)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400. Lightly mist a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, mixing it into the butter until thick. Stir in the milk and garlic powder and raise the temp to bring the mixture to just under a boil. Add the cheddar cheese and whisk mixture together until thoroughly combined into a cheese sauce.
3. Remove the cheese sauce from heat and then mix in the blue cheese dressing and Buffalo wing sauce. Beat together the eggs and egg white and then stir into the cheese sauce until combined.
4. Add the chicken and celery to the cheese sauce and stir together. Add the macaroni and continue to stir until coated. Spoon the macaroni mixture evenly into the prepared muffin tin.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops slightly brown. Let cool at least 15 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Letting the “muffins” cool before removing them from the pan is crucial if you want them to stay together.
Yields 12 “muffins.” WW P+: 4 per muffin (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per muffin from myfitnesspal.com: 163 calories, 15 g carbs, 7 g fat, 11 g protein, 1 g fiber